Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

General Muchemwa poisoned by apartheid regime says Chiwenga

By Tinashe Farawo

National Hero Brigadier-General (Retired) Dr Felix Muchemwa died from arsenic poisoning administered by apartheid South African intelligence agents while he was on active military service in Mozambique in the 1980s, it has emerged.

Mrs Tapuwa Muchemwa (stripped top), wife of Rtd Brig-Gen Felix Muchemwa weeps over the coffin bearing her husband's body. Pictures by Tawanda Mudimu
Mrs Tapuwa Muchemwa (stripped top), wife of Rtd Brig-Gen Felix Muchemwa weeps over the coffin bearing her husband’s body. Pictures by Tawanda Mudimu

At the time of his death in Egypt on June 13, Rtd Brig-Gen Muchemwa – former Health Minister – was Special Disability Advisor in the Office of the President.

Rtd Brig-Gen Muchemwa will be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare this morning, with body-viewing scheduled for Stoddart Hall in Mbare, Harare at 7am. Thousands of Zimbabweans are expected to give the former Health Minister and one of Zanla’s medical corps’ key members a rousing send-off.

At Dr Muchemwa’s funeral parade at One Commando Barracks in Harare yesterday, Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga said arsenic poisoning caused the death.

Gen Chiwenga said: “In April 1987, while on active service in Mozambique, the general was repatriated back home after it was discovered that he had ingested poisoned wine, which was later discovered to have been sent from Songo Cabora Basa by the then apartheid South African intelligence who backed the MNR (Mozambique National Resistance) bandits with the aim of poisoning our forces.

“What we came to know of later was that yes, while Felix escaped death many times from enemy fire, he could not escape the enemy’s dangerous chemicals, which manifested themselves later as it became apparent that he had been a victim of arsenic poison.

“Thus, contrary to the public account of the cause of his death, health experts actually attribute it to what in medical parlance is called ‘peripheral neurolopathy’, secondary to arsenic poisoning, and not cancer as others want to suggest.

“What exacerbated his condition was the late diagnosis which was only done in 1996 in the United Kingdom, and he was transferred to Egypt where there were chemical specialists. Yes, indeed, in the course of his life, the general was successfully treated for lung and prostate cancer.”

Rtd Brig-Gen Muchemwa’s body arrived from Egypt on Friday and was received by Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, Gen Chiwenga and other service chiefs.

Since last Monday, condolence messages have been pouring in for the late national hero, and President Mugabe – when he visited the family home of the deceased on Friday – lauded Rtd Brig-Gen Muchemwa’s commitment to the national interest before and after Independence. Sunday Mail