By Staff Reporter
Harare, May 17, 2016 – PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Monday broke an undeclared vow he will never confer hero status to a rival when he paved way for former Zanu PF women’s league secretary general Espinah Nhari to be declared a liberation war hero.
Nhari, a war veteran, died at 62 in a car accident along the Bulawayo-Harare highway near Kadoma when her Madza BT 50 she was travelling in was involved in an accident last Friday.
During the period leading to her tragic death, Nhari had become a rival to the first lady Grace Mugabe after she was suspended from the party for allegedly belonging to a rival camp.
Nhari, who was purged together with women’s league spokesperson Monica Mutsvangwa, was accused of chanting the slogan, “Pasi neG40 (down with G40)”.
G40 or Generation 40 is a Zanu PF faction comprising younger and ambitious politicians widely thought to be fronted by President Mugabe’s wife.
After Nhari’s fallout with Grace, it was widely thought she would follow other former Mugabe allies who were denied hero’s status for ditching the Zimbabwean leader.
However, Nhari was not among the list when she was this week granted liberation war hero status.
This was confirmed through the state media on Monday by Zanu PF Midlands spokesperson Cornelius Mpereri.
“Cde Espinah Nhari who died in an accident on Friday last week has been declared provincial heroine. She will be buried at the Midlands Provincial Heroes’ Acre (today),” Mpereri said.
Liberation war hero status is often granted to party cadres whose liberation war profiles are seen as slightly lower than those interred at the national shrine.
The conferment of national hero’s status is a Zanu PF prerogative but President Mugabe has often been accused of manipulating the process to reward loyalists while denying enemies even though they would be deserving of the honour.
Some of the liberation war heroes who were denied the highest honour of the land include former PF Zapu stalwart Thenjiwe Lesabe and former Zanu founding leader Ndabaningi Sithole, who later died as opposition Zanu-Ndonga president.