Political parties have expressed sorrow over the death of paramount Filabusi Chief Vezi Maduna Mafu, saying he will be missed for his astute leadership and immense knowledge of traditional practices, norms and beliefs.
Chief Maduna died in the early hours of Saturday morning at the age of 86, while recovering from a stroke he suffered in August 2019.
It is Chief Maduna’s staunch traditional beliefs, commitment to development and principled stance, which inspired most Matabeleland politicians.
United Movement for Devolution (UMD) President, Lovemore Moyo said Chief Maduna would be remembered as an icon for community empowerment, development and a strong advocate for local resources for local people.
“His sudden death has certainly robbed the people of Zimbabwe and Matabeleland in particular of his wisdom, astute leadership and immense knowledge on traditional practices, norms and beliefs.”
Moyo said as people mourned the chief, they should celebrate his unwavering commitment to the development of his people and courageous stance on emphasising that local resources were for the local community.
“He was a voice for the Mthwakazi people. Indeed, a hero has fallen and a dark cloud has befallen the entire region and beyond. Let us draw strength from his wisdom, teachings and guidance to forge ahead in pursuit of his vision for an emancipated and just society,” said the former national speaker.
“Let us honour his legacy by fulfilling his mission for justice and equality. Let his courage and resolve be the rock on which we stand as we pursue a better future for this great nation. May his dear soul rest in eternal peace. To Mrs (Lizzie) Mafu, umama uMaMpala, children and grandchildren, your loss is our loss, your grief our grief. Our heartfelt condolences go out to you and the entire family…”
ZAPU President, Issac Mabuka also concurred that Chief Maduna inspired many politicians as he was a man of distinguished courage who also possessed a rare quality of self sacrifice for a cause he believed in.
“Chief Maduna was a source of inspiration to thousands of young people who gave their lives to fight racial colonialism and its brutal repression of the black people of Zimbabwe. He confronted the oppressors without fear. Even detentions never deterred him. He humbly served his people as their chosen representative to his best ability,” he said.
Mabuka praised the chief’s willingness to guide the youth and support their initiatives.
“He availed himself to the younger generation giving advice where he could during his later days. He fought for justice for the victims of the Gukurahundi genocide. Chief Maduna never abandoned his role as a traditional leader as he accommodated all the political parties despite their differing and very often violent views against each other,” he said.
The ZAPU president said the party was mourning a genuine preserver of our tradition and culture.
“ZAPU will not only cherish his wisdom and courage but we pledge to forever look at him as one of our examples as we continue to struggle for freedom, human dignity and all fundamental rights. Lala Ngoxolo Mathayi.Uyiphilile impilo yakho yobuqhawe. Bayethe!” Mabuka said.
It is reported that in 1981 Chief Maduna was elected a ZAPU councillor and became the first chairman of the Insiza Rural District Council.
He was also elected the party’s vice chairman for Matabeleland South provincial authority and in 1984 at PF ZAPU congress he was elected into the Central Committee.
It is said Chief Maduna was to remain a member of the Central Committee until the signing of the Unity Accord between Zanu PF and PF ZAPU on December 22, 1987
After the Unity Accord Chief Maduna served ZAPU in various capacities including becoming a member of the national assembly.