Zanu-PF Politburo member Cde George Peter Rutanhire has died.
Cde Rutanhire succumbed to renal failure at Karanda Hospital in Mt Darwin early yesterday. Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Minister Advocate Martin Dinha confirmed the death.
“On behalf of Mashonaland Central, I wish to convey my deepest condolences and sorrow to the Rutanhire family and the whole family of Zimbabwe over the untimely death of this gallant son of the soil,” said Adv Dinha.
“His heroism ad selfless dedication to the liberation of Zimbabwe is illustrious. At one point, he and his wife saved me from imminent death after some people had conspired to poison me at a function in Mt Darwin. I am hurt by Cde Rutanhire’s death.”
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association provincial chairman (Mashonaland Central) Cde Sam Parirenyatwa said they would request national hero status for the veteran of the Second Chimurenga that led to Zimbabwe’s Independence in 1980.
“We have requested the party’s Politburo to confer national hero status on Cde Rutanhire. Our application will be in the Politburo office by (Sunday) morning.
“We are, however, disturbed that this gallant fighter was taken to hospital in an old truck, which broke down along the way and had to get to hospital in a scotchcart.”
Born Jackson Musanhu, Cde Rutanhire joined the Second Chimurenga in the early 1970s after encountering Zanla fighters at St Albert’s Mission where he was a catechist.
He and his wife left for Mapapai Base, Mozambique, in 1972 after having been sold out to Rhodesian operatives.
Cde Rutanhire went for military training in Tanzania later that year, becoming one of the foremost prosecutors of the armed struggle.
He was among the signatories to the famous Mgagao Declaration, which unequivocally pronounced President Mugabe leader of Zanu.
After Independence, Cde Rutanhire held several posts in Government and Zanu-PF, and was elevated to the Politburo in 2010, a position he held until the time of his death.
He was head of the Chitepo Ideological College, and chair of the Fallen Heroes Trust of Zimbabwe, which — among other things — has been at the forefront of identifying mass graves of people butchered by the colonial regime prior to Independence
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