HARARE – Nathan Shamuyarira, the former Cabinet minister and politburo member, died “poor” and his wife Dorothy could not even visit him in hospital because of financial constraints, President Robert Mugabe and relatives said yesterday.
Mugabe, who arrived in his luxurious Mercedes Benz S600, was spared the nightmare of dogging potholes, after authorities had earlier swiftly fixed the road leading to Shamuyarira’s home, which was quickly painted just after his death.
When the Daily News visited Shamuyarira’s house yesterday, it reflected signs of age and abandonment.
Shamuyarira died on Wednesday and will be buried today at the National Heroes Acre.
Relatives of the late veteran nationalist yesterday appealed to Mugabe to help the widowed Dorothy, who is sick and struggling to make ends meet.
“We are appealing to the Mashonaland West province to take care of Mai Shamuyarira because she is reserved and cannot tell you her problems. She was even struggling to raise money to visit baba (father) in hospital when he was ill but she could not tell anyone. It is her character,” said a relative who spoke after Mugabe.
Mugabe himself had earlier admitted that his former comrade, who refused a farm, had died a poor man.
“He knew what he stood for, very simple and you could not suspect him of any corruption. He died a poor man and this was Nathan, but rich of course in his views,” said Mugabe to a gathering that included government ministers, who had arrived at the funeral riding on some of the latest vehicles on the market.
Close relatives of Shamuyarira said Philip Chiyangwa and Webster Shamu, who both hail from Mashonaland West, were among the few persons in Zanu PF, who were supporting the “leading light” in his last inglorious days.
Margaret Dongo, who in the 1990s crossed swords with the late Shamuyarira, told the Daily News yesterday that in his last days, the former journalist wanted her close — “presumably to share his misery.”
“He sent someone for me when he was sick. The person who was fixing electrical gadgets at his home told me that he was always talking about me. When I paid him a visit the situation was deplorable.
“Politicians whom he had worked with did not come to see him. He was not even aware of what was happening in the country. I think he wanted me to see how he was living because he knew I would never keep quiet about it,” said Dongo.
According to Dongo, Shamuyarira’s house was painted on Thursday in a desperate attempt to mask the signs of neglect that the once powerful man was enduring.
“Zanu PF has a tendency of forgetting its own, only to sing praises when the person is dead. Unfortunately, they are going to talk only about the positives. I am so disappointed that a house is painted around 4pm. When I left the place at 6pm on Wednesday, they were still painting the house. The road leading to his home was only repaired after his death so as to enable the president to pass.
“When I visited him just before his death, I could see that he had something in his heart that he wanted to say, that is why he invited me so that I would let the world know.”