By Melissa Chikumba
Hundreds of residents in Kwekwe who had thronged Amaveni to bid farewell to Kwekwe Central MP Masango Matambanadzo were left dissapointed after failing to properly bid farewell to their, “hero.”
Blackman as Matambanadzo was affectionately known passed on in the early hours of Tuesday aged 56.
It had been reported that there was supposed to be a body viewing for the mourners at Amaveni Stadium.
Despite travelling constraints people thronged Amaveni from every part of the constituency.
Kwekwe was on Wednesday under virtual police and army lockdown after the security service personnel were turning away people on numerous checkpoints dotted across the Kwekwe.
Even journalists in some areas were turned away.
However, this did not deter Kwekwe residents to bid the last farewells to their favourite MP.
In observance of Covid-19 regulations, the family moved the occasion to Amaveni Roman Catholic Church.
Still the service failed to take off.
Matambanadzo’s principal director Agritty Dube said they wanted to conduct body viewing and a church service but failed to dp so after noting that a large number of people had thronged the venue making social distancing a challenge.
People from all walks of life had come to pay their last respects.
“We wanted to conduct a body viewing ceremony and a church service in Amaveni but we noticed there was a large number of people and there was a possibility that people would not practice social distancing which is a way set by the curb COVID19,”said Dube.
He then explained that the family was taking Matambanadzo’s body to his Dunlop Farm in Kwekwe were it will lay in state, with the burial set for Hurungwe on Friday.
“The family have decided to take the body to his farm where a few mourners will be gathered. It will lay in state Wednesday and then on Thursday we will travel to Hurungwe were his body is set for burial on Friday,” Dube said.
Some of the residents however, expressed dissapointment that they would not properly bid farewell to thier MP.
“We had travelled from a very far away place to bid farewell to our honourable. We are really in pain that we have lost such a man, his calibre is very rare. We really wanted to have a proper farewell,” a mourner Mavis Mabviko told the publication.
Another mourner narrated how Kwekwe had lost a father figure.
“We have lost a hero in our community since he was always ready to assist anyone despite their political areas, we felt the family should have conducted a service for us to say goodbye to him,” said one of the churche leaders.
Blackman won the hearts of many through his philanthropic activities which saw him assisting everyone regardless of their political affiliations.
A former street photographer, Matambanadzo endeared himself with thw socially downtrodden.
Matambanadzo, however, despite rising through the social ladder which saw him involved in various busines ventures he did not forgot his constituency-the downtrodden.
This was despite rubbing shoulders with the well heeled in the society including having direct access to the former first family the Mugabe’s.
In one of his classic acts of representing the downtrodden he stormed Kwekwe Town House and demanded that then Town Clerk Emmanuel Musara allocate vending stalls to hundreds of vendors, and also told the city boss not to disturb them in their operations.
He was in his second term in parliament.
Matambanadzo initially went to parliament under the Zanu PF ticket in 2013 after suffering defeat at the hands of MDC’s Blessing Chebundo at his maiden appearance on the ballot paper.
Towards the end of his term he had an acrimonious fallout with Zanu PF which saw him being booted out of the governing party.
He however, bounced back in Parliament in 2018 after being elected under an NPF ticket, the only NPF parliamentarian from across the country.
Despite his limited educational background, which saw him confessing that he dropped out of school when he was at an elementary level of being a grade two, Matambanadzo said he had a razor sharp mind which saw him representing everyone in Kwekwe regardless of their background.
He was survived by a wife and a daughter.