By Beatific Gumbwanda
CHIKOMBEDZI – A promise made to the Gezani community in Chiredzi South by then Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander and now Vice president Constantino Chiwenga some weeks before he launched a coup that toppled Robert Mugabe seems to have been forgotten.
Chiwenga seconded one of his then juniors, Brig Gen Trust Mugoba to represent him at the funeral of late Headman Gezani, Simon Chauke.
During his speech, Mugoba spoke glowingly about the late traditional leader saying the Gezani family was one of heroism as his late father had also assisted Chiwenga during the liberation struggle.
“General Chiwenga is saddened by the death of Headman Gezani because that’s where he was kept during the chimurenga time,” said Mugoba.
He said the army wanted to pay tribute to the contributions made by the Gezani family to the liberation struggle by constructing a clinic or a school in the area.
“We want the community to identify two or three projects in this area which the ZDF will undertake for you. Give us a school, clinic or anything of your choice and we will send our team of engineers and builders to do it for the community this year.
“We want a team work; we have partners who we are working with at Dumisa Primary School which are CBZ Bank and FBC Bank. Even the community, you must be active so that our development projects will be completed quickly,” he added.
In October of the same year, Chiwenga visited Makhanani Primary School and participated at a ground-breaking ceremony for a new clinic project.
“You made two requests, one, for us to construct a clinic and the need to have mobile networks in this area. I had to recall your contribution during the war and I then saw it fit to have a hospital constructed in this area. I know Headman Gezani is no longer with us, but he would be pleased to see these developments taking place in this area,” Chiwenga said then.
However, nothing has been done on the site of the projects and the issue is not even being talked about despite that Chiwenga is now in government and is arguably the second powerful man in the country, with even greater leverage to influence government policy.
Auspicious Ndlovu, a social activist from Chiredzi South, said Chiwenga should urgently move to fulfil his promises in an area considered to be among one of the most marginalised in the country.
“We still feel short-changed. Since he was elevated from army general to Vice President, he has totally forgotten us and the clinic which he promised is nowhere to be seen,” said Ndlovu.
Headman Gezani’s phone was not reachable for comment.