ZANU PF politburo member Nathan Shamuyarira (pictured right) is in a critical condition at Harare’s West End hospital where he is on life-support in the Intensive Care Unit, The Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
There was commotion at West End hospital on Monday evening when President Robert Mugabe visited veteran politician Shamuyarira.
Harare Street, the road along which West End hospital is situated, was closed for the two hours during which Mugabe was at the hospital. Mugabe arrived just after visiting hours at 6 pm.
A top Zanu PF insider said: “Shamuyarira is very ill. He is at West End hospital in the intensive care unit on life support. He is not speaking and is using an oxygen machine to help him breathe. I am not sure what exactly he is suffering from, because he is not talking. It must be illness associated with old age.”
Shamuyarira was born in 1929. He retired from active politics in 2010 due to deteriorating health. At that time he was Zanu PF’s secretary for information, a position now held by Rugare Gumbo. He is currently a committee member in the politburo.
Since reports of his ill-health in 2010 Shamuyarira has barely been seen in public or at state functions. A frail-looking Shamuyarira was at Higher and Tertiary Education minister Stan Mudenge’s funeral at the Heroes Acre in October 2012.
At Independence Shamuyarira was appointed Minister of Information and Tourism. Some of the portfolios he held in government include that of Foreign Affairs.
In October 2006 Shamuyarira, making reference to the Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980s, sparked outrage when he declared Mugabe and the late cabinet minister Edison Zvobgo were wrong to apologise for the North Korea-trained 5 Brigade massacres in Matabeleland and parts of Midlands.
Asked if he ever regreted the atrocities, Shamuyarira, who served as Information minister during the 5 Brigade operation, is reported to have told a conference on national reconciliation in Vumba: “No, I don’t regret. They (5 Brigade) were doing a job to protect the people.”
During the liberation struggle, Shamuyarira fought at different times on behalf of and helped lead Frolizi, Zanu and Zapu.