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Even when his health was failing, Cde Vuma gave much of his time to exploring ways by which the party’s finances could be strengthened. His record in financial management, over a period spanning his lifetime, is a shining example of dedication.

A VETERAN nationalist and experienced financial administrator, Cde Stephen Kenneth Sesulelo Vuma died in his sleep at his Harben Park plot in Gweru on Tuesday, May 6, 1997. He had been ill for sometime although this did not hinder him from executing his party duties.

Cde Stephen Vuma was born on April 18, 1936, at Ghogo in Chief Lukulaba’s area in Shurugwi. He was the son of the late Sesulelo Willie Vuma and Sipimo (nee Dube). Stephen was the third son in a family of 10 children – five boys and five girls.

Cde Vuma’s father had three wives and many other children. His father was a farmer who was eager to educate his children. He moved from Ghogo to Silobela where he had acquired a farm through the African Purchase Area scheme.

He was a good farmer. Most of his produce on the farm was invested in the education of his children.

For his primary education, Cde Vuma attended Zhaugwe School near Figtree, Gloag Range Mission near Inyathi, before going to Dadaya Mission in Zvishavane. In 1958 he joined active politics. He completed part of his secondary education through correspondence.

On leaving Dadaya Mission, Cde Vuma joined the Posts and Telecommunication Corporation in Harare. He became actively involved in mobilising people for the nationalist struggle for freedom and independence and contributed to the popularity of the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress.

He was soon arrested and sent to jail in 1959. In 1962 he was restricted at his father’s plot in Silobela. Before that he had just visited the following leaders at their places of restriction or imprisonment: Cde Leopold Takawira in the then Chilimanzi, Cde Muchachi-Nhema and Cde J. Z. Moyo in Kezi, Cde Joshua Nkomo in Simukwe and Cde Robert Mugabe in Zvimba.

He wanted to seek their opinion on the possibility of sending Sir Garfield Todd, Cde Josiah Chinamano and Cde Nathan Shamuyarira to the United Nations to present the nationalist agenda for Zimbabwe’s independence. Cde Vuma had undertaken these journeys with comrades Charles Madombo, Dumiso Dabengwa and Ethan Dube. He was arrested two days after his return from Zvimba and detained at the then Salisbury Maximum Prison.

After his release Cde Vuma headed for Bulawayo where he worked briefly.

In 1963 he was appointed to go to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to run party accounts. On his way to Dar es-Salam he met Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, who introduced him to Cdes Willie Musarurwa and A. Ngwenya, who were party representatives in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia).

These comrades later recommended that Cde Vuma be sent for military training. Stephen was tireless and patriotic in his work in the nationalist movement. In his entire adult life he was consumed by and committed to the freedom struggle in order to free the people of Zimbabwe.

While in exile he realised that an independent Zimbabwe would need a skilled labour force. This made him to enrol at the Kieve Institute of National Economy in the then Soviet Union, where he graduated with an MSc Degree in National Economic Planning, a Diploma in Political Science as well as a Diploma in Cybernetics and Econometrics.

He also worked tirelessly raising financial support for the liberation movement and ensuring that the finances were properly administered. During his political career Cde Vuma held several offices in both the youth and main wings of parties such as ANC, NDP and ZAPU.

Cde Vuma returned home in 1980 after spending several years in exile, most of them in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. On his return home he was the PF-ZAPU secretary for finance and the financial director of several PF-ZAPU companies.

In 1990 he was elected Member of Parliament for Silobela until 1995 when he lost the seat to Cde Margaret Msimbe.

Cde Vuma will be remembered for his candid, patriotic and thought-provoking contributions during his term in Parliament. He was a staunch aocate of a Parliament which reflected the ideals of a democratic nation. Up to the end of his tenure Cde Vuma remained a capable and effective member of the House.

After this tenure in the House of Assembly Cde Vuma went into farming and to many this was not surprising given that his late father was a renowned farmer who owned a large herd of cattle.

According to Cde Shakespeare Vuma, a brother of the late Cde Stephen Vuma, their father used the proceeds from the sale of these animals to send his children to school.

Thus Cde Vuma realised the importance of farming to his family and indeed to the nation. The last activity he undertook just before he died in his sleep was harvesting maize at his Gweru plot, thus demonstrating his belief in manual work.

At the time of his death Cde Vuma was a member of the ruling ZANU-PF Central Committee and the Deputy Secretary for Finance in the Politburo. His experience in party financial administration extended over a period of over 31 years. At the time of his death Cde Vuma was undertaking a nationwide programme to monitor the party’s financial position.

Even when his health was failing, Cde Vuma gave much of his time to exploring ways by which the party’s finances could be strengthened. His record in financial management, over a period spanning his lifetime, is a shining example of dedication.

At the time of his death, Cde Vuma was survived by two wives and six children.

Source : The Herald

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