By Vasco Chaya and Mugove Tafirenyika
The family of the late liberation stalwart and musician Dick “Cde Chinx” Chingaira has passed on the chance to bury him at Harare Provincial Heroes Acre — instead opting to have him interred at the Glen Forest Cemetery — with his national hero status snub by Zanu PF spilling into Parliament yesterday where the opposition wanted a special sitting to revisit the matter.
Cde Chinx, who died in Harare last Friday after battling cancer, will be buried at Glen Forest Cemetery this afternoon.
He was overlooked for the national hero status by Zanu PF which, instead, accorded him liberation war hero status, in a move which was roundly condemned by Zimbabweans across the political divide.
“As a family, we have decided to inter our father at a befitting place. We are not belittling government’s efforts in according him a provincial hero status but we think Glen Forest is a better place for him.
“Even though we have paid all the expenses associated with the Glen Forest grave, the government is still playing its role in assisting Cde Chinx’s funeral.
“We are working together with the government and there will be a full military honour for him,” family spokesperson Deeds Chingaira told the Daily News yesterday.
Ordinarily Cde Chinx would have been buried at the Harare Provincial Heroes Acre at the Warren Hills Cemetery, although families of liberation war heroes are allowed to exercise other options, but still burying their loved with military honours befitting such occasions.
However, emotions have been running high since Cde Chinx was denied the national hero status, with matter coming to a head on Tuesday evening when angry relatives and war veterans confronted Cabinet minister Tshinga Dube when he visited the Chingaira home to deliver the “bad” news.
However, the decision to deny Cde Chinx national hero status did not sit well with the opposition MDC whose MPs called for a special parliamentary sitting today to declare him a national hero.
Kuwadzana East legislator Nelson Chamisa raised a point of privilege calling upon the acting National Assembly Speaker Rueben Marumahoko to call for a special sitting.
“It has arisen that one of our war veterans was made a provincial hero but we must as Parliament intervene and say as far as we are concerned Chinx was a national hero not one for the provincial shrine.
“As Parliament, we must stand to defend the Constitution against any considerations that are not in line with its provisions and I kindly move that Parliament must sit tomorrow to consider that and I am waiting for your ruling,” said Chamisa.
Marumahoko adjourned it to Tuesday next week to ignite fierce protests from the MDC MPs who then began reciting some of Cde Chinx songs.
MDC chief whip Innocent Gonese slammed Marumahoko for allegedly failing to follow procedure and “stifling debate on an issue of national importance”.
“You asked if there was any further debate and I stood up to say yet there is debate but you are now blocking it despite that this is an important matter raised in line with the Constitution of this country,” Gonese complained.
“Zimbabweans look upon us to deliberate on important issues in terms of the law and MPs can in line with standing rules and orders of this house, raise motions without notice like what has been done.
“It is inopportune for you to adjourn to next week because the motion that has been raised will have been overtaken by events and the burial will have been done,” protested Gonese.
By being declared a liberation war hero, Cde Chinx, joined the likes of the late Dendera music maestro — Simon “Chopper’ Chimbetu — who is interred at Chinhoyi provincial Heroes Acre.
The diminutive Cde Chinx who received a ringing endorsement from opposition and pro-democracy groups — a rarity in the current polarised political environment – inspired the freedom fighters through his musical prowess during the protracted liberation struggle.
Former Zanu PF national political career Elliot Manyika who is interred at the national shrine wasn’t a musician although he did collaboration with sculptor and singer Bryn Mteki on popular song, Norah.
Cde Chinx leaves behind two wives and 14 children. Daily News