Florence Chitauro was a former Zimbabwean cabinet minister and diplomat. Before her death, Ambassador Chitauro spent most of her time at her farm at Pickstone in Chegutu and would occasionally visit her Harare home. She was married to the late former Defence Secretary and first Vice-Chancellor of Bindura University of Science Education, Dr James Chitauro, who died in April 2014 after a short illness.
In her Government career, Ambassador Chitauro was appointed non-Constituency Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister for Labour, Planning and Social Welfare in August 1990 serving under the late former President Robert Mugabe. In 1995, she entered Cabinet as Minister of National Affairs, Employment Creation and Cooperation and the following year moved back to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, as the minister.
In 1998, she was part of the taskforce on War Victims Compensation Fund, which took care of war veterans. In 2003, Ambassador Chitauro was appointed Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Australia, where she was involved in a row with the then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, after calling him a dictator over the way he chaired a group that suspended Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth.
Chitauro was labour minister when the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions – for which she was once vice president – called crippling strikes known as stay-aways in the late 1990s. Chitauto famously told the late ZCTU president Gibson Sibanda to form a party, accusing the union of pursuing a political agenda. The ZCTU leaders did just that, and the Movement for Democratic Change was formed in 1999. She was recalled by the late former President Robert Mugabe in 2005 before she was elected Senator.
Family spokesperson Mr Thomas Chitauro said the former minister collapsed and died at her Borrowdale Brooke home. Ambassador Florence Chitauro died on Monday 19 October 2020 at the age of 75 after a stroke.