By Blessings Mashaya
President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday hailed the late Thokozile Mathuthu as an honest politician and unassuming leader. Mnangagwa told mourners gathered for the burial of the former Zanu PF women’s league deputy secretary Mathuthu at the National Heroes Acre that she was a strong advocate for affirmative action.
“Mathuthu vigorously worked to change the land ownership structure to decongest communal settlements in Matabeleland North Province and ensure empowerment of the blacks.
“She held a wide array of portfolios in the party. At the time of her death, she was deputy secretary for the Women’s League. It was her love for the party that saw her at one time leaving a hospital bed to go and vote only to return to her hospital bed. She was a strong advocate for female participation in the party and Government.
“She remained loyal to the ideals and values of the party until her death.
“She was loved by all who knew her. She was humble and modest with a motherly character,” Mnangagwa said.
Mathuthu died last Monday, she was born on March 26, 1957 in Bulawayo and she became active politically in the 1970s.
Between 1975 and 1978, she was a committee member of the Zapu youth wing and assisted combatants operating in the Tinde and Kamativi areas.
At independence, she was a committee member of the Zapu women’s wing between 1980 and 1982 and later rose to become deputy chairperson of the same wing in Nengasha District, Hwange.
She was also involved in the integration committees during talks between Zanu and Zapu.
Mathuthu served in former president Robert Mugabe’s government as deputy minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services.
Her service was short lived as the military intervention which led to a soft coup against Mugabe in November last year ushered in Mnangagwa.
Mathuthu was seen as a close ally of Mugabe and part of the G40 faction.
However, Mnangagwa said the people of Matabeleland and the entire nation will remain proud of the visionary, zeal and enthusiasm that Mathuthu had.
“She was an unassuming and humble mother figure who was known by all who knew her,” he said.
He described her as a peacemaker, who never looked back on her conviction that unity is key to development. She was a strong advocate of women empowerment and a member of the women’s league that in 1999 advocated for greater women participation in national politics.
Mnangagwa said Mathuthu’s family background gave her the consciousness and she became active in political activities leading to the independence of Zimbabwe in 1980.“Today the nation bids farewell to a true patriot,” he said. –DailyNews