By Tamuka Charakupa
The late war liberation hero, Cde John Munodawafa Gwitira and popularly known as Cde Kenneth Gwindingwi, who died on the 27th of April was buried this Sunday at his rural home in Nyanyadzi, Chimanimani.
Family and friends described the late Cde Gwitira as hardworking, dedicated and principled cadre who had the country’s interests at heart.
His sister Patricia said, “My brother was one of the first people to go to war so we celebrate his life as a hero.”
“As a family we accept the decision by government and we would like to thank them for this conferment. My husband had the passion for change and the liberation of the country,” said his wife Monica.
Dr Thokozile Chitepo, who also attended the burial, said, “Heroes are the unknown and the unsung young men and women who gave up everything and dedicated their lives towards the liberation of the country. Cde Gwitira is one of those heroes. He was in Tanzania with Dr Hebert Chitepo he is a symbol of unity because he brought together the country of Zimbabwe and Tanzania.”
War Veterans Association national chairperson, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa described the late war liberation hero as icon who played a central role during the liberation struggle.
“Cde Gwitira joined the liberation struggle as a very young man and he played a very crucial role in the attainment of the country’s independence. He stayed with the late Cde Hebert Chitepo in Tanzania, so he was very strategic in planning for the struggle. As war veterans, we have lost a very dedicated cadre who always put the nation first before his personal interest,” he said.
Chief mourner, Senator for Chimanimani, Zimunya and Marange, who is also the minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said Cde Gwitira’s death has robbed the nation of a hardworking cadre who always advocated for unity and the development of the country.
She said, “The death of Cde Gwitira should be documented as part of the country’s rich history. We are currently recording a documentary to highlight the rich relationship which Zimbabwe and Tanzania shared. There are a lot of people who derived their inspiration from Cde Gwitira. We have been robbed.”
Cde Gwitira was born 17 October 1949 in Nyanyadzi in Chimanimani district. He attained his Advanced Level in 1968 through the London University External Examinations and in 1970 graduated with a Diploma in Agriculture from Chibero College of Agriculture.
Cde Gwitira joined the struggle in 1975 and stayed at Itumbi Camp and later transferred to Mugagao Training Camp in Tanzania where he received his military training.
At Independence, he joined the Airforce of Zimbabwe as an Operations Training Commander and Flight Technical Officer.
Between 1992 and 1993 he held the position of Director of Manicaland Development Association responsible for socio-economic development.
Cde Gwitira is survived by his wife Monica, six children and three grandchildren.