Ex-health minister Dr Stamps declared national hero

Denis Gwenzi
Own Correspondent

FORMER health and child care minister Dr Timothy Stamps has been declared a national hero, Zanu PF officials confirmed Tuesday.

Dr Stamps was health advisor to the president and cabinet at the time of his passing. He died aged 81 Sunday died at Borrowdale Trauma Centre after a lung infection.

Zanu PF officials Obert Mpofu, David Parirenyatwa, Tshinga Dube and Simon Khaya Moyo visited the family home at their home at Plot 6 Welston Road, Welston, in Goromonzi Tuesday.

Mpofu said the decision to honour Dr Stamps had unanimously been taken by the Zanu PF politburo.

“We have been sent by His Excellency, the President (Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa), on behalf of Zimbabwe, to pass his condolences and deepest sorrow on the passing of our colleague,” said Mpofu.

“As you know, he (Dr Stamps) was keen on the welfare of the general populace, so we will miss him a lot. We have been requested by His Excellency to come and inform the family that he has been declared a national hero.

“This followed consultations within members of the Politburo who were unanimous in this decision and we are delighted that his colleagues decided that he be declared a national hero.”

Burial arrangements would be decided in consultation with the family. 

Dr Stamps’ eldest son, Kenyon, thanked Government for honouring his father, saying they had also planned a memorial service for him next week.

“We were planning a memorial next Wednesday, as you know, dad had a very much open-door policy, was open to everybody, especially the less privileged,” he said.

“He was loved by many people and didn’t even turn down enemies, but as a family we are very grateful (for the national hero status).”

Dr Stamps was born in Wales on October 15, 1936 and came to Zimbabwe in 1968. He grew up in England where he became one of the youngest doctors in the United Kingdom at the time.

Before independence, he worked for the then Salisbury (now Harare) Municipality’s health department and rose to become the city’s chief medical officer. He clashed with racist authorities then by trying to facilitate access to health facilities for black people that were marginalised.

Dr Stamps was appointed Minister of Health and Child Welfare in 1990, taking over from Dr Felix Muchemwa, a position he held until 2002.

He is credited with playing a pivotal role in the fight against HIV and Aids. In 1999, he led an initiative to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

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