Tendai Mugabe, Harare Bureau
Multitudes of people on Tuesday converged at the Chengu family homestead in Mutorashanga to give a befitting send off to the wife of Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba, Idaishe Olivia Chengu-Charamba.
Mrs Chengu-Charamba (45) succumbed to liver complications at a private hospital in Harare on Sunday.
Although Tuesday was a Cabinet day, President Mugabe allowed several ministers to attend the burial of Mrs Chengu-Charamba.
Various speakers described Mrs Chengu-Charamba as a righteous person who worked hard not only for her family but also for the prosperity of others.
Mrs Chengu-Charamba’s brother Mr Tendai Chengu said the death of his sister was a huge loss to the family.
“She was a perfectionist,” he said. “She was older than me by five years but throughout her life, she continued to pick up my shoes in many ways. Not only did she do that to me, but to everyone whom she interacted with.”
Mr Charamba’s sister Rosemary said: “She (Mrs Chengu-Charamba) was a heroine in the Charamba family. She looked after several kids including my own kids. I am a single mother but at no point did I trouble myself on how to look after my children as she always did that for me.”
Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo, who is also the Zanu-PF secretary for administration, hailed the Chengu family for transforming the Mutorashanga area into a modern community.
He said the father of the late Mrs Chengu-Charamba was the first headmaster in Mutorashanga who also worked to develop area.
“After noting the good work by the Chengu family, mining companies in this area then decided to mobilise money to construct modern houses for the workers and asked President Mugabe to come and hand over the houses,” he said.
He said Mrs Chengu-Charamba worked hard behind the scenes in Zvimba North constituency but never asked for a position in the party.
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister Cde Thokozile Mathuthu, who represented Minister Dr Chris Mushohwe who is abroad on Government business, said Mrs Chengu-Charamba looked after her family well including her husband.
“We see (Mr) George Charamba as a success thanks to his dear wife,” she said.
“He (Mr Charamba) would fulfil every assignment that reaches his desk. I want to thank Mbuya Chengu for raising a well disciplined daughter. You cannot be George’s wife if you are not disciplined.”
Commander of the Defence Forces General Constantino Chiwenga said: “With the little time that we were with her on earth she has managed to gather this huge crowd because of her good work. During her last days when we visited her at the hospital, it was painful to see her condition deteriorating. But we should all know that when you are born, the only thing left for you is to die. When you die you should be able to count what you have done for others and your creator. God will appreciate if you do like what Idaishe Olivia has done to look after children. It’s painful but let us admit that God has done his will.”
Mr Charamba thanked the people who came to console him and his in-laws.
He also explained why his wife was buried in Mutorashanga and not his rural home in Buhera.
He said it was his decision to maintain sound family ties with his in-laws and his children.
He said he had children from his first marriage while his late wife also had a child from her first marriage.
He said they were then blessed with three children with his late wife.
“I want you to understand this because people will write whatever they are going to write as to why we have buried Idaishe in Mutorashanga and not in Buhera,” he said.
“I want to say let it be known to all men and women of goodwill that when my wife died, the Chengu family asked me to make a decision. I realised that it was going to be very difficult for Tonderai (the child of his wife from her first marriage) to come and visit the tomb of his mother without a sense of awkwardness. So it was my personal decision that Idaishe should come and be buried here so that it’s easier to all the children. I really wanted to maintain the unity of the family and that is basically the decision,” he said.
Mrs Chengu-Charamba’s burial was also attended by deputy ministers, services chiefs, permanent secretaries, parastatal heads, senior Government officials and members of the public.