By Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has revealed he personally directed his government to take care of late Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa’s medical bills and for the struggle icon to be airlifted to India for advanced treatment.
The Zanu PF leader however did not hint on any plans by his party to accord the former Home Affairs Minister national hero status.
Dabengwa died aged 79 in Kenya Thursday as he was returning home following a month long treatment.
Following his death, Mnangagwa also took the onus to make a televised statement, describing the former ZIPRA intelligence chief as someone who ranks highly among the pioneering generation of the country’s liberation struggle back in the 1970s.
Mnangagwa said he had “learnt with a deep sense of pain and grief” of Dabengwa’s death.
“My last contact with the late Cde Dumiso Dabengwa was at State House this April, a few days before our independence celebrations,” said President Mnangagwa.
“He clearly looked unwell, and I directed Government to arrange for his speedy evacuation to India for urgent medical attention at Government expense.
“That was promptly done, and we all hoped that Cde Dabengwa’s condition would improve and take a turn towards full recovery. Sadly, that was not to be, and we lost him today in Nairobi, Kenya, as he was being flown back home.”
Mnangagwa went on to shower praises on his former Zanu PF ally, describing him as “always principled and resourceful” when the two were involved in the integration of Zanla and Zipra, which were the fighting arms of Zimbabwe’s liberation parties, Zanu and PF Zapu against the white colonial regime.
The Zanu PF leader has, since his rise to become President on the back of a military coup against Robert Mugabe, been making all the overtures towards former rivals.
He took over the medical bills of late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai December 2017. The former Prime Minister later died February last year.
Mnangagwa went on to finance Tsvangirai’s memorial in Buhera early this month and has been taking care of Mugabe’s medical bills.
Mugabe has been frequenting Singapore for treatment.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa did not make an attempt to speak of any plans by his party to decide on Dabengwa’s national hero status.
Dabengwa’s party, Zapu on Thursday said its leader expressed his desires to be buried close to his family members in Bulawayo as opposed to being interred at the national shrine.
“Whether Zanu PF declares him a hero or not he is a hero. He does not have to be declared by anyone to be a hero,” Zapu secretary for finance Mark Mbaiwa told journalists in Bulawayo.