Tekere, died on Monday at a private hospital in the eastern city of Mutare after battling cancer for several years.
He died at Murambi at about 1 pm,” a relative told Radio VOP.Tekere, a maverick character has been in an out of hospital over the last two years. He spent about three months at St Annes Hospital in the capital Harare last year and another two months at the Avenues hospital.
Tekere participated in the war of liberation together with other Zanu (PF) stalwarts such as President Robert Mugabe, Didymus Mutasa and Solomon Mujuru.
He was a president of the Zimbabwe African National Union and organised the party during the Lancaster House talks.
During the war he served on the ZANU high command, or Dare reChimurenga. He was detained by the Rhodesian government at Gonakudzingwa.
Tekere, a maverick character was a close ally of Mugabe during the early years of independence and worked in his government as Minister of Labour and Manpower planning between 1980 and 1989.
Tekere was never shy to criticise the status quo. He criticised Zanu (PF)’s heavy handed rule since 1980 and was expelled from the party from being outspoken.
Despite his colourful history, Tekere at one point in his life lived a life of a pauper depending on cash handouts to survive. He made this revelation at a Quill Club Speak two years ago.
Tekere popularly known as “Two Boy” was Mugabe’s ally during the Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle during the fight for independence against the Rhodesian forces of Ian Smith. He formed his own Zimbabwe Unity Movement in the late 90’s after he denounced Zanu (PF) plans for a one party state.
Tekere repeatedly said he did not want to be buried at the national heroes’ acre where war veterans from Zanu (PF) are buried. He said he did not want to be buried amongst thieves and crooks, referring to officials from Zanu (PF) buried at the national heroes’ acre.
Tekere ran against Mugabe in 1990 presidential under the ZUM ticket but failed to win the elections. He remains one of the liberation fighters who have written a book about the liberation struggle. In the book titled: “A lifetime of Struggle”, he said he was the one who convinced Mugabe to cross to Mozambique to join the liberation struggle. In the book, he describes Mugabe as a ‘coward.’
In his last days Tekere was staying in his home town of Mutare. He was critical of the war veterans under Zanu (PF) who are known for leading violence and intimidation across the country saying they fought for this country. He said genuine war veterans do not harass the people or the masses adding that many pseudo-war veterans have been created in the last years.