No heroine Status For Lesabe

However, this is despite the party’s announcement on Monday that they did not care less if Lesabe was given heroine status or not because Zanu (PF) had a monopoly decision on who gets buried at the national shrine in Harare. The party said it was Lesabe’s wishes to be buried at her farm.

“Zapu takes this opportunity to re-iterate that we will not let anyone, no matter how powerful, violate Mrs Lesabe’s wish that she be laid to rest at her farm. We appreciate that Mrs. Lesabe was a
prominent national leader, who under normal circumstances would have been interred at the once respectable national shrine in Harare.

“However, events in her life, and indeed the conduct of the custodians of that shrine, obviously made her stress the point that she did not want to be buried there. May her wish be respected,” said party spokesman Methuseli Moyo.

“We are the founder and authentic liberation movement of Zimbabwe and therefore will not submit ourselves to a rival, splinter movement to tell us amongst us who is a hero and who is not. Let Zanu-PF keep its heroes acre. Our hearts are our heroes’ acre,” he added.

Lesabe (79) died last week at the Intensive Care Unit at the United Bulawayo Hospital after
suffering from an undisclosed illness.

”Effie Ncube, the chairperson of the Matabeleland Constitution Reform Agenda (MCRA) said the
latest Zanu (PF) snub’s of a deserving national heroine from Matabeleland is a clear indication that decision making processes in this country are centralised to one particular institution.

“When MCRA talks about devolution of power, it will be actually talking about such unfair ,
selective and centralised decisions as what happened to Umama Lesabe. We need our own people
here who  can have the mandate and authority to confer or not national hero status to people in
their respect regions rather the current situation where a bunch of old women and men from one
political party decide who is a hero,” said Ncube.

Ncube said a national hero or heroine will always remain one even if he or she is not buried at
the so called national heroes’ acre.

His sentiments were also echoed by Tabitha Khumalo, the MDC-T deputy national spokesperson.

“As a party we are shocked by Zanu (PF)‘s failure to distinguish party and national issues.
Surely how can you deny someone deserving national hero status just because she does not agree
with your party’s ideologies. Zanu (PF) should stop abusing the nation. That shrine should simply
change the name and called Zanu (PF) heroes acre,” said Khumalo.

Zanu (PF) Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa acknowledged that the politburo and President Robert Mugabe had all concurred that Lesabe had immensely contributed to the liberation struggle but the fact that she joined the Dumiso Dabengwa led Zapu in 2009 automatically disqualified her from being declared a national heroine.

“We could not confer her with the national heroine status which was her rightful status because
she was not consistent when she joined ZAPU led by Dabengwa,” said Mutasa.

Mutasa said the funeral of the late former Zanu (PF) Women’s League and former Minister of
National Affairs which takes place on Saturday at her Fort Rixon Farm in Insiza, will be state assisted.

Mutasa said while rejecting Lesabe’s national heroine status, the politburo had declared former
ZIPRA intelligent chief Cornius Nhloko a national hero.

Nhloko died at his rural home in Silobela in a horrific fire accident and will be buried on
Wednesday at his rural home.