By Johannes Chin’ombe
Masvingo, October 21, 2016 – THE late controversial war veterans’ leader, Francis Zimuto, better known as “Black Jesus” will be buried in his Gutu rural home on Sunday after the family turned down government’s offer to bury him at Masvingo Provincial Heroes’ acre.
Family members said they did not want their relative to be buried in a graveyard that government has abandoned in terms of maintenance.
Zimuto died in his Gutu rural home on Tuesday.
He was one of the pioneer leaders of the chaotic land reform exercise in 2000 and was accused of visiting brutalities on opposition MDC supporters.
“As family, we are not pleased to lay our beloved relative at a graveyard that is merely maintained. Have you ever visited the Provincial heroes acre to see the state of the grave yard? It’s in a sorry state. It does not look like a place where heroes are buried at all. We then decided to bury him at his home where his resting place will have proper maintenance,” said a family member.
He also went on to tell RadioVOP that relatives were not happy with the honour bestowed on Zimuto, considering his liberation war efforts.
“We would have expected more from the party because of his sterling record. I think factionalism was at play here,” added the family member.
Zanu PF provincial chairperson for Masvingo, Amasa Nenjana also confirmed that they had requested that Zimuto be made a national hero.
Nenjana on Wednesday said the province had requested the Zanu PF politburo to declare Zimuto a national hero.
Of late, he had fallen out of favour with President Robert Mugabe after he sided with axed former War Veterans minister, Christopher Mutsvangwa, something which Zanu PF sources said could have contributed to his national hero status snub by the party.
In February this year, Zimuto left many tongue tied when he described the first lady Grace Mugabe “a young girl”, who should concentrate on household chores and stop meddling in Zanu PF succession politics.
In early 2000, he walked 300km from Masvingo to Harare, carrying a cross, where he petitioned the British Embassy to compensate white former commercial farmers.