The late former Minister of State for Matabeleland North Province, Cde Thokozile Mathuthu has been declared a national heroine.

Cde Mathuthu died in Harare this morning after a battle with cancer.

She was 61.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa visited the Mathuthu family home in Belvedere, Harare this evening where he announced the decision to confer Cde Mathuthu with the heroine status, in honour of her work for the development of the country.

He was accompanied by the First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, Vice President Retired General Constantino Chiwenga and his wife, Mrs Mary Chiwenga.

The President said the nation is poorer without Cde Mathuthu and the family should draw comfort from the knowledge that the late national heroine has left a legacy that every Zimbabwean should strive to emulate.

Meanwhile, the Zanu PF leadership in Matabeleland North and Bulawayo provinces have joined the nation in morning Cde Mathuthu.

In the condolence messages, Bulawayo Minister of State, Cde Angeline Masuku and Zanu PF Matabeleland North Chairperson, Cde Richard Moyo described Cde Mathuthu as a dependable and trusted politician, who remained principled throughout her political career.

“I worked with Cde Mathuthu for a long time and what I can say is that she was a principled cadre and even during turbulent times, she remained stuck to the party guidelines. Cde Mathuthu would still afford a smile and crack jokes even during difficult moments,” Cde Masuku said.

“She is one person who has worked hard for the province and the [Zanu PF] party at national level. What I liked most about her is that she respected everyone including those who worked under her leadership and did not abuse her position as a senior government and party official. So it is a difficult moment for all of us especially as Matabeleland North Province,” Cde Moyo said.

Cde Mathuthu once served as the Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services and at the time of her death, she was a member of the Zanu PF Politburo and Central Committee, and was the party’s Deputy Secretary for Women Affairs.

She is survived by her husband, Cde Jonathan Mathuthu and four children.

Mourners are gathered at number 12 Katalina Road, Belvedere, Harare and burial arrangements will be announced in due course.