By Mutsa Makuvaza
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has described the late aide to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, Mr. Albert Tonderai Vunganai, as a rare breed of loyal security and intelligence officer whose death pained the First Family, more so considering he perished while in the course of duty.
Vunganai died in a car accident in Mavhuradonha, Mt Darwin district, Mashonaland Central Province, Friday afternoon when the vehicle he was in flew off an embankment before rolling into to a rocky ditch while accompanying the First Lady to a humanitarian mission near the Mozambican border, some 250km from Harare.
Three other security aides were injured, and the President visited them in hospital in Harare Saturday morning.
“It was with great shock and deep grief that my wife and I received yesterday the tragic news of the untimely death of Mr Albert Tonderai Vunganai, principal security officer, following a car accident in Mavhuradonha, Mt Darwin district, Mashonaland Central Province,” said the President to media yesterday.
He said Mr Vunganai’s death pained them (President and First Lady) the most considering that the accident happened in the course of duty.
“The late Vunganai was known very well to both of us, the First Lady and myself, having worked with him since 2014 when he joined my staff as a member of the close security unit during my tenure as Vice-President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
“He was reassigned to the First Lady’s close security unit in 2017, where he worked until his untimely death yesterday (Friday).”
The President said the late Vunganai discharged his duties with professionalism and was a team player.
“Vunganai was a very good and exemplary security and intelligence officer, who discharged his duties with absolute loyalty and dedication, which are the hallmark of a professional cadre.
“His untimely departure, therefore, leaves a deep void among his colleagues which will be difficult to fill as he was such a good team player.
“On behalf of Government, my wife, and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to express our sincere condolences to the Vunganai family, especially his wife Nancy and the children, during this dark hour of grief,” said the President.
“May they take comfort from the knowledge that we grieve with them, as their loss is ours together.”
Earlier the President visited the three injured security details at West End Hospital in Harare.
“I have come to see my officers who were involved in an accident yesterday. It is good they know I have compassion towards them, so I visited them,” he said after the visit.
“They are in capable hands and I’m assured everything possible is being done and I wish they have quick recovery.”
Police details rendered first aid to the victims at the scene before taking them to a clinic in Muzarabani where they were transferred to Harare by an airforce helicopter scrambled from Harare.
The deceased officer was identified as Albert Vunganai.
“We rushed to the scene where we rendered first aid before taking them to Muzarabani Clinic where they were treated and because of their condition had to be evacuated to Harare by air.”
A colleague of the deceased wrote on Facebook: “I still can’t believe it. It’s like a bad dream. This is difficult to stomach, hazvisi kumaker sense.
“Till we meet again Walter. Rest easy Cde Mutukirwi. May Gulez, the young ones and the family be comforted by the most high. Zvatirwadza vasara mwana wamai. Zorora murugare.”
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa reportedly abandoned the journey following the accident and sent representatives to donate food hampers and sanitisers at Chidikamwedzi and Kabatamukombe primary schools in Muzarabani district. – Zimbabwe Voice