Former Buhera North Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister of Industry and International Trade, Kenneth Vhundukai Manyonda has died.

He was 88.

Manyonda, a veteran nationalist who is also the former Manicaland Provincial Governor, was serving as Chief Nerutanga at the time of his death.

Mutasa South MP, and the late Manyonda’s nephew, Misheck Mugadza confirmed his uncle’s death, saying the veteran nationalist had been unwell for some time.

Yes, I can confirm the passing on of our father, grandfather, mentor and veteran politician, Cde Kenneth Manyonda. We are what we are today because of him as he was a fatherly figure. He motivated me to be a lawyer and for me to be a politician, I took it from him. Cde Manyonda died early this morning at Marlborough Clinic in Harare where he was admitted. He has been unwell for some time. For us, his death is a double blow as he was the acting Chief Nerutanga,” said Mugadza.

Born in rural Buhera in 1934, Manyonda worked in various jobs in the industrial and commercial sectors after completing his education.

The late Manyonda became a member of the African National Congress of Rhodesia soon after its formation and then joined the National Democratic Party after the banning of the ANC, becoming the local branch secretary of the NDP in Gweru.

In 1962, Manyonda returned to Gweru after a short period working in Livingstone, Zambia.

It was at that time that the late veteran nationalist first became involved in trade union activity.

Following the split in ZAPU and the formation of ZANU in 1963, Manyonda joined the latter organisation.

He became vice-chairman of the Gweru branch and was increasingly involved in both political and trade union activities.

In 1966 he was arrested and began what turned out to be over two years of detention and was released in 1968.

He left Rhodesia in 1970 after obtaining a British government grant to study industrial relations in the UK.

The ex-Deputy Minister came back after independence and worked in various Government departments until his appointment as Manicaland Provincial Governor.

The late Manyonda is survived by four children.