By Farayi Machamire
The burial of the late liberation stalwart and musician Dick “Cde Chinx” Chingaira in Harare yesterday was most notable for the absence of senior Zanu PF and government officials.
The 61-year-old Cde Chinx — who died in Harare last Friday after battling cancer — was interred at the Glen Forest Memorial Park.
His family passed on the chance to bury him at Harare Provincial Heroes Acre — instead opting to have him interred at Glen Forest.
A huge gathering, predominantly made up of war veterans, relatives, close friends, and ordinary people was present to witness his burial — amid anger that he was overlooked for 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.
Not one Cabinet minister or notable Zanu PF bigwig — among the thousands of ruling party overlords which he had interacted with during the liberation struggle and in post-independent Zimbabwe — made themselves available to give him a fitting send-off.
Only Harare State minister Miriam Chikukwa attended the burial together with Zanu PF Harare provincial political commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe, who claimed bigwigs were tied up at a ruling party workshop and at another burial.
“Vanhu vabatikana (Many were tied up), there were many programmes today,” Mashayamombe said.
“There was also a workshop at Zanu PF headquarters and we also have another comrade, a former PC for the province Onismo Gore ari kuchemwa kuMbare (whose burial is in Mbare), so we can’t say people did not come, everyone had a lot on their plates.”
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association spokesperson Douglas Mahiya said: “We thought the ministers would be here, because their presence would give Chinx the respect that he deserved.”
“Chinx was singing for the nation, there was need for the nation to reciprocate.
“In church, you praise and worship and God comes down, so we expected them to come down so that people will appreciate the value of what Chinx sang about.
“There is not a single person that was not encouraged by his music. God help us. To us, he is a national hero,” Mahiya said.
War veterans’ leader Chris Mutsvangwa said Zanu PF had missed a chance to make history by interring the first musician at the national shrine.
“What we would like to say is heroes are everywhere . . . some get recognised, some don’t. Chinx represented the arts part of the war . . . if we are ever going to have an artist at (the National) Heroes’ Acre; probably the most deserving one was Chinx.”
Family spokesperson Deeds Chingaira could not be drawn into commenting on the snub, choosing to thank the ruling party for assisting Cde Chinx “during his time of need”.
Chikukwa narrated Cde Chinx’s path from the time he joined the liberation struggle in 1975 up to his death. Daily News