Veteran politician and first black Government chief of protocol Peter Chanetsa (70) has died. The former Mashonaland West Resident Minister and Governor succumbed to heart failure early yesterday morning at Parirenyatwa Hospital.
Family spokesperson Mr Kenneth Chanetsa said his brother had been in and out of hospital for a long time. He described Chanetsa as a “firm but generous family member”.
“We lost him just after midnight (yesterday) and the doctors have confirmed that his heart failed,” Mr Chanetsa said.
“As a family, we have lost a pillar of strength, father, brother and an unmatched advisor. Everyone looked up to him for advice and now that he is no more, we do not know how we will manage. He died loving and working for his political party, Zanu-PF. We will only know the burial arrangements later after consulting with the relevant offices.”
Chanetsa — a former Member of Parliament in Hurungwe, was a Zanu-PF Central Committee member at the time of his death.
The Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial leadership yesterday said they were in the process of recommending that he be declared a national hero.
Zanu PF provincial chairperson, Ephraim Chengeta, said:
“Considering his traceable work for the party and Government, we are looking forward to the highest honour (national hero status) but we have not yet sat as a province to come up with one voice with regards to the hero status.
“He was someone who worked and occupied senior positions in the party and government and we are still consulting with other senior members of the party in the province.”
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe, who visited Chanetsa’s Borrowdale home yesterday, said he worked with former Chief of Protocol for a long time.
“I worked with him for long when he was Chief of Protocol while I was the principal director responsible for State residences,” he said.
“We worked closely and I found out that he was focused, hardworking and disciplined. He is the longest serving Chief of Protocol the President has ever had.”
He went on: “He is a cadre who worked for the party from Tanzania during the liberation struggle. To this day, he was a forthright party loyalist, somebody who has never deviated from the party line. He has been involved in different structures of the party and we will miss him as a country. We thank him for what he has done for the party and Government.”
Hurungwe West National Assembly member and Zanu-PF Mashonaland West deputy chairperson Keith Guzah said the province had been robbed of “wise counsel”.
“He was a strong and resolute patriot,” he said. “He was a key figure in the current political discourse who will be sadly missed by the entire province and nation at large. We are currently in the process of discussing with our leadership with regards to a status that will be so befitting. He worked tirelessly from the time of the liberation struggle and worked closely with President Mugabe. As a province, we learnt a lot from him because he has always been imparting in us the need to always remain patriotic.”
Chanetsa was the first black Chief of Protocol at independence before being appointed Mashonaland West Resident Minister and Governor in 1996.
Family members said apart from being a politician and farmer, Chanetsa had interests in the safari and fishing businesses. Born on July 15 1946 in Chinhoyi, Chanetsa first had his education in that area before proceeding to Mabvuku in the then Salisbury.
He then went to Mwanza, Tanzania, where he later hooked up with other locals and received military training in that country. He came back at independence in 1980. He is survived by wife Beatrice and three children.
Mourners are gathered at No. 6 Iona Close, Borrowdale, while others are at his Biri Farm in Zvimba.