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Oliver Chidawu Burial: Huge send-off for hero Chidawu

ZIMBABWEANS from across the political divide turned up in their numbers at the National Heroes Acre in Harare yesterday to bid farewell to the late national hero, Engineer Oliver Chidawu, who died on Tuesday last week after a cardiac arrest.

Zanu PF, the revolutionary party that was Chidawu’s home, came out in full force to bury the former Minister of State for Harare Provincial Affairs and Devolution, who was also a Politburo member.

There were banners that captured the kind of man that Cde Chidawu was and the values he stood for.

They read, “Avid advocate of the devolution agenda committed to black empowerment”, No to land barons”, and “A hardworking party cadre”.

In interviews, friends and relatives described the late national hero as a dedicated cadre and one of the champions of the economic empowerment drive.

The swelling numbers of people who thronged the National Heroes Acre were partly testimony of his enduring good works, they said.

Mr Ngoni Kudenga, a lifelong business partner to the late national hero, said Cde Chidawu had a vision that went beyond personal achievement.

“In his bid to advance black empowerment, he and other engineers formed a Building Contractors Association. Oliver was a visionary who created a path for many people. Many can be surprised that his love for people was his commitment to the word of God,” he said.

“In 1985 Oliver approached me with the idea to form his business venture, Kuchi Electric. My role was to provide guidance in financial expertise and his role was to provide engineering expertise and oversee the day-to-day operations.

“In 1989, against the background of the growing success of Kuchi Electrical, he then formed Kuchi Construction. His vision went beyond personal ambition, it was always his personal desire to empower black youths and help to create black-led self-sustaining industries”.

The late national hero, Mr Kudenga said, appreciated that for one to run a successful business, skilled professionals were a requirement so over a period of time, he employed hundreds of engineers.

Kuchi construction company was responsible for the construction of an array of high-profile projects in Zimbabwe and across the region.

Some of them include Manyame River Bridge, NSSA building phase 2, the Zimbabwean Embassy in Botswana among others.

Mr Kudenga said in his bid to advance black empowerment and ensure collective influence he along with several colleagues founded the Zimbabwe Building Constructors Association which was formed to promote the interests of indigenous building contractors.

“We were genuine friends who were committed to supporting each’s careers and even more importantly supporting each other’s families,” he said.

Former Harare Mayor Ben Manyenyeni said they used to share notes on how to run the city and the province.

“He introduced a very competitive corporate aspect to municipal matters. That will be missed quite a lot. He was a hardworking person. He was a very inclusive gentleman politically,” said Mr Manyenyeni.

His colleague in Government, Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira said the late Cde Chidawu was eager to spearhead the devolution agenda in Harare in line with Vision 2030.

“He was a hardworking man who promoted developmental work through devolution and his legacy will live on,” said Minister Chadzamira.

Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Larry Mavima concurred that Eng Chidawu left a legacy of black empowerment.

“Cde Chidawu transformed many entities across the country and the nation has lost a hard worker,” he said.

MDC-T vice president Engineer Elias Mudzuri, who was Harare City’s chief engineer during the late hero’s term of office as Harare mayor, described Cde Chidawu as a principled man who had the nation at heart.

“We are both former Mayors of Harare, we used to interact a lot in different capacities. He pushed a number of projects in Harare that will be part of his legacy,” he said.

Mashonaland East Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution Aplonia Munzverengwi said the nation has lost an engaging man.

“As you know that Mashonaland East and Harare province share boundaries. We had a lot of issues that we were working together to solve such as unplanned settlements between the two provinces like in Nyatsime and Caledonia. It’s a gap which will take time to fill,” she said.

Zanu PF Harare provincial chairman Cde Goodwills Masimirembwa said the late national hero was working towards stabilising the province as a senior member of the party.

“He is a person you could go to anytime to seek guidance. He was a fountain of wisdom, I have known Cde Chidawu for a long time and it is really sad that he has left us at this critical moment in Harare when we were working towards achieving victory in the 2023 harmonised elections,” said Cde Masimirembwa.

Institute of African Knowledge chief executive Ambassador Kwame Muzavazi said the late Cde Chidawu has left a gap that is difficult to fill.

“The late national hero was a Minister for Harare steering the establishment of one of the iconic projects of the New Dispensation which is the Museum of African Liberation which is going to change not only the face of Harare but the face of the region. We were working very closely to ensure the flagship project of the New Dispensation is fulfilled,” said Ambassador Muzavazi.

Zanu PF National Political Commissar Cde Mike Bimha said the late Cde Chidau was rich in many areas.

“Personally I had a lot of respect for Cde Chidawu. He brought the rare combination of having exposure in both business, politics, and council affairs. He had so much exposure in so many areas. When you combine that, that quality you don’t find in many people,” said Cde Bimha.

The party’s deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs, Cde John Paradza, said Cde Chidawu was a fountain of wisdom for young people.

“I used to consult him on a number of issues, politically on matters which affect the youth,” said Cde Paradza.

Zanu PF Secretary for Security Cde Lovemore Matuke said the late hero left a legacy which should be emulated.

“He was a principled and quiet person committed to his duties and loyal to the party,” said Cde Matuke. – Herald

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