Freedom fighter Mataba declared provincial liberation hero

256

OWEN MATAVA in Harare

Former Parliament of Zimbabwe security official and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’ prison mate at Khami Prison in 1967 Clements Mataba whose Chimurenga name is Godfrey Muchandiona has been declared a liberation war hero in recognition of the sacrifices he made during the liberation struggle.

Cde Mataba (75) died at a private hosipital in Harare after a long illness and will be buried today at Warren Hills Cemetery in the capital city.

Mourners are gathered at the family residence in Warren Park 1, in Harare.

In a statement, Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Obert Mpofu confirmed that President Mnangagwa had conferred Cde Mataba liberation war hero status. “His Excellency, the President and First Secretary to Zanu-PF, Cde Mnangagwa, has conferred liberation war hero status to the late Cde Clements Mataba who died on June 27, 2020” said Cde Mpofu.

Cde Mataba’ son Charles, yesterday said his father was a dedicated liberation cadre whose family was placed under constant surveillance by the Rhodesian Government after he decided to join the struggle.

“My father’s political contribution to the liberation struggle began in 1964 when he decided to further his education in Zambia where upon arrival he met his late uncle Shadreck Chiuswa whose Chimerenga name was Kushinga Hondo.

Immediately after the two met, they then decided to visit their cousin Samuel Shumba who was the Zanu Chairman for Copperbelt and it is at this juncture that my father was convinced to join the struggle after noticing that almost all of his relatives were part of the grand plan to free the masses back home”, said Charles.

Cde Mataba was born in 1946 in Zimuto under chief Gurajena and attended Senga Primary School in Gweru. He completed his standard 6 education in 1964 before proceeding to Zambia for further education.

In 1965, Cde Mataba became a member of Zanu youth wing and later stayed at Zanu Statehouse in Zambia were he met the likes of the late General Josiah Magama Tongogara, Henry Hamadziripi, Simpson Mutambanengwe and Enos Chikowore.

In November 1965, Cde Mataba together with Cde Tongogara, Gilbert Mataba, Obert Mazhandu, Albert Makobo and Edwin Nhliziyo left for Tanzania where 2 months later in January 1966 the team opened the first training camp named Intumbi in Chunya under Commander and trainer Benard Mutuma.

In April 1966, Cde Mataba left for China  with 11 others who included Cdes Tongogara, Cleutus Chigove, Everson Wasaranevake, Charles Meda and Kenny Masimbi. After completing their 3 months advanced training at Nangin, 6 of them including Mataba returned to Tanzania while the other 6 defaulted and went to the United Kingdom.

In 1967, Cde Mataba became part of the first Zanla Forces under Chaminuka Group to be deployed through Matabeleland to Fort-Victoria now Masvingo.

Their group was later captured by the Rhodesian soldiers in September 1967 and all 9 members were given a 20 year jail term leading to their incarceration at Khami Prison where they met the now President Mnangagwa who had already served 2 years.

Cde Mataba was later transferred to Gweru Prison where he was later freed in 1978.

During his time after release, he worked at Zanu offices at Desai Shops in Gweru upto cease-fire.

After independence Cde Mataba was employed as security man at Parliament of Zimbabwe which he served for 22 years until his retirement.

Cde Mataba survived by his wife Faith Rosaria Siriyari Mataba, 4 children and several grandchildren.