Masvingo – FRANCIS Zimuto aka Black Jesus –the war veterans’ leader famed for his one man march from Masvingo to Harare in support of the controversial land reform programme, has died.
The radical war veteran died in the early hours of Tuesday October 18 2016, at his mother’s rural homestead in Mugoni, Gutu district, family members said.
His death follows the tragic death of another war veteran and local member of ZimPF, Retired Colonel Kudzai Mbudzi.
Zimuto was one of the war veterans who led the invasion of white owned commercial farms in 2000 onwards, triggering the land grab exercise.
He staged a one man march to Harare and carried a cross to the British Embassy, demanding to be crucified unless Britain agreed to bankroll the country’s agrarian reforms.
He went to war as a young boy in 1973 and later became a member of the ZIPRA command.
It is understood Zimuto had been ill for some time but the actual reasons of his death could not immediately be established.
Zimuto’s death came hardly 24 hours after War Veterans Ministry permanent secretary Walter Tapfumaneyi said liberation war heroes were dying of neglect with 15 of them buried every week.
“Now almost every week, 15, 16 and the numbers are increasing partly due to the fact that we cannot provide the care that is written in the Law. So they just die in despair where ever they are, they are dying in abject poverty,” said Tapfumaneyi.
Some few months ago, Zimuto was ‘booted out’ of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association executive by the Mandi Chimene faction for insulting President Mugabe’s wife Grace whom he described as a ‘step mother’ and a ‘young girl’.
“She must ship out and go home and cook for her husband instead of meddling in the affairs of the country.
“We had President Robert Mugabe’s first wife, Sally, who was down to earth and died like that, why is she (Grace) challenging the powers of our President in public,” Zimuto told a war veterans meeting then.
- New Zimbabwe