Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
ACTING President Constantino Chiwenga has mourned the death of Chief Mabhikwa saying the nation has been robbed of a humble, intelligent and resourceful leader who died before his prime.
Chief Mabhikwa (28) of Lupane, Matabeleland North Province, who died on Monday morning at St Luke’s Hospital following a traffic accident, is expected to be buried on Saturday in Jotsholo.
The Isuzu twin cab the chief was driving was involved in a head-on collision with a haulage truck on Sunday night along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway, six kilometres from his homestead in Jotsholo.
Vice President Chiwenga yesterday said he learnt with great pain and shock the news of the death of Chief Mabhikwa, which he described as hard to fathom.
The acting President said President Mnangagwa, Government and Zimbabweans are mourning with the Khumalo family.
“What makes Chief Mabhikwa’s passing on very painful to fathom is that our nation, the community of traditional leaders and his subjects in particular, have been robbed of a humble, intelligent, resourceful and dynamic youthful leader who was barely in the prime of his life and chieftaincy,” said VP Chiwenga.
He described Chief Mabhikwa as a man who championed the development of his community.
“The late Chief Mabhikwa distinguished himself as a developmental oriented leader on a mission to transform the lives of his people through hard work, commitment and wise leadership.
He devoted most of his time and energy among the Lupane business community inspiring them to drive the growth and development of their hometown, Lupane, into a vibrant municipality,” he said.
He said Chief Mabhikwa led by example, hence he was respected by his community.
“The late Chief commanded the love and respect of his peers across the board and endeared himself with his subjects leading by example.
The late revered Chief will be sorely missed by those of us who had the privilege of working and interacting with him in the course of his chieftaincy.
“On behalf of His Excellency the President Dr E.D Mnangagwa, Government and indeed on my behalf, I wish to express my sincere condolences, foremost to his family, which has lost a father and breadwinner and to the Chiefs
Council which is all the poorer with his early demise,” he said.
Family spokesperson Mr Donald Khumalo said Chief Mabhikwa will be buried on Saturday at his homestead in Jotsholo.
“Barring any changes, Chief Mabhikwa will be buried on Saturday at the homestead in Jotsholo.
We are working with Government and other officials, more details will be released during the week,” said Mr Khumalo.
Born Nicodemus Vusumuzi Khumalo, Chief Mabhikwa was installed at the age of 18 on Friday May 12, 2012, six years after his father’s death in 2006.
Chief Mabhikwa was born on September 24, 1993 and attended Jotsholo Primary and Fatima High Schools.
At the age of 19 he attended the Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology and also attained a Diploma in Information and Communication Technology at Boston City College South Africa in 2012.
He is survived by a son.
In 2019, President Mnangagwa appointed Chief Mabhikwa as part of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe board, after being seconded by the Chiefs Council.
Meanwhile, more chiefs and leaders have mourned Chief Mabhikwa.
President of the Chiefs Council, Fortune Charumbira said Chief Mabhikwa was destined for greatness and the institution had so much faith in him.
“I knew Chief Mabhikwa personally.
When he was installed, he was a teenager and I was there to participate.
He came in young and died, but we wanted him to grow into the institution forever.
The institution is rich and Chief Mabhikwa added to its diversity in terms of diversity across age groups,” said Chief Charumbira.
“Chief Mabhikwa provided the bedrock of the institution, he and the younger chiefs are the ones that have the energy and vibrancy.
They would give the institution a different dimension and the sky was the limit for him.
We put him on the BAZ board and that was a sign of confidence that the chiefs had in him at the age of 28 representing the institution.”
Chief Charumbira said Chief Mabhikwa’s death pained him.
“This to us was a big blow and it will remain as such.
Chief Mabhikwa was among the young who were being groomed who were bringing a different dimension so that when we meet, we have that cross fertilisation of ideas between different age groups.
When I heard about his death yesterday (Monday) morning, I was devastated, the institution is devastated,” said Chief Charumbira.
Chief Gampu of Tsholotsho described the late Chief Mabhikwa as someone who was very intelligent and respectful who always contributed positively during meetings.
“I still can’t believe that the boy is gone, we have lost a huge talent as a province and as chiefs.
This is a huge blow, Vusa was someone who had lots of respect for everyone and he also respected authority,” said Chief Gampu.
Chief Siansuli of Kariyangwe area said Chief Mabhikwa, whom he described as a friend, was a man who held peace and unity in high regard.
“We lost a dear person, a promising leader, who showed that he was destined for greatness,” he said.
Chief Dingane-Nelukoba of Hwange said he was devastated.
“I’m still shocked because they said he was talking after the accident and everyone believed he would make it,” said Chief Dingane-Nelukoba.
He said the province looked up to Chief Mabhikwa as the future leader.
“He was very respectful and educated.
Having worked with his father before, we looked up to him as one of the people in the region who would lead us tomorrow.
“He was supposed to be here with us and we were supposed to go with him to Masvingo as he had also been selected to represent the province at an upcoming traditional leaders’ training workshop.”
Chief Nyangazonke of Kezi in Matabeleland South Province said Chief Mabhikwa was a man who prioritised reconciliation and despite his age he was well versed in dealing with the Gukurahundi issue.
“Personally, we would discuss many issues, such as Gukurahundi.
He used to put valid key points in solving Gukurahundi.
We know that there were chiefs who weren’t there when it was happening, but through their parents they understand.
Chief Mabhikwa was a man who wanted people to openly discuss Gukurahundi and as chiefs he was of the thought that the people must be the ones who lead and we become the go-between between them and the Government.”
Matabeleland North Minister for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Richard Moyo described Chief Mabhikwa as a patriot.
“Chief Mabhikwa would support all Government programmes 100 percent and we worked with him perfectly.
So as a province we have lost a promising leader, who shone even at such a young age,” said Minister Moyo.
“Lessons from Chief Mabhikwa that young people can take is that they must be loyal and patriotic to their nation, like him.
He didn’t go against Government developmental programmes; you wouldn’t find one time opposing these.”
Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Obert Mpofu said Chief Mabhikwa could have been young in age, but he had a wealth of wisdom.