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Brigadier-General Muchemwa dies

By Zvamaida Murwira

Special Disability Advisor in the Office of the President, former Minister of Health and decorated war veteran Retired Brigadier-General Felix Muchemwa has died.

Felix Muchemwa
Felix Muchemwa

Brig-Gen Muchemwa died in Egypt on Sunday where he was receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment.

He was 71.

Both Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube and permanent secretary Brig- Gen Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi confirmed the death.

Rtd Brig-Gen Tapfumaneyi said the ministry had not yet been briefed on the circumstances.

“I have just received a message from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces that Rtd Brig-Gen Muchemwa died in Egypt where he had gone to receive treatment. The message indicated that ZDF Chaplain-General Colonel Joseph Nyakudya would be headed for Egypt tomorrow (today) together with some family members to arrange for the repatriation of the body. I expect to get full and official briefing tomorrow,” said Rtd Brig-Gen Tapfumaneyi.

He said his ministry would initiate burial and funeral arrangements once they had been officially briefed.

“It is our ministry, particularly myself as permanent secretary who should make necessary initiatives for burial and other logistics and recommendations. We will do that once we get all the information from both the family members and other authorities,” said Rtd Brig-Gen Tapfumaneyi.

He described Rtd Brig-Gen Muchemwa as one of the few decorated cadres who sacrificed his well-paying job as a medical doctor for the liberation struggle.

“He is one of the few stalwarts of the liberation struggle who sacrificed his job in the medical field for the liberation struggle.

“I worked under him as a medical assistant when he was a medical doctor and he was passionate about the liberation struggle. He won several medals for his bravery,” said Rtd Brig-Gen Tapfumaneyi.

Minister Dube described Brig- Gen Muchemwa as a hardworker.

“He made great contribution both before and after independence. He came from the bush and rose through the ranks to become a Brigadier-General,” said Minister Dube.

Last year, Brig-Gen Muchemwa wrote a book titled “The Struggle for Land in Zimbabwe 1890 to 2010,” which was a forensic diagnosis of land ownership.

The book was published by Heritage Publishing House and edited by Dr Rino Zhuwarara and the late Mr Alexander Kanengoni.

Born in Mhondoro-Ngezi on April 22, 1945 in a family of four boys and three girls, Rtd Brig-Gen Muchemwa did his schooling at St Michaels Primary school and Kutama Mission before going to Fletcher High School.

Good at identifying exceptional talent, the Rhodesian government quickly snapped the young Muchemwa by awarding him a full scholarship at Fletcher High School and thereafter enrolled at the University of Rhodesia in 1967.

The contagion effect of the volatile political milieu at the then University of Rhodesia was to soon catch up with the young Muchemwa who in 1969 was elected president of the Students’ Representative Council in which capacity he led a series of students’ demonstrations against the white establishment.

The Rhodesian system expelled him from the university and he became a banned individual in Salisbury, forcing him to leave Zimbabwe to further his studies in England in 1970.

In 1973, he qualified with an MBChB at Birmingham University and immediately obtained an FRCs (Glas) (Part One) in May 1975. He later joined the prestigious Birmingham Department of Anatomy as a lecturer and researcher leading him to an MSc (Anatomy) at the end of 1976 after which he proceeded to join the surgical rotation within the Birmingham area in January 1977.

Given such a rich professional and personal history, it was thus least expected of Dr Muchemwa to abandon the seemingly comfortable life in England for the rugged and uncertain future of makeshift camps in Mozambique.

He, together with Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi and the late Dr Herbert Ushehwekunze were among the first qualified medical doctors to join the struggle. The Herald