By Bulawayo Correspondent
ONE of Zapu’s founding members, Theresia Thaka (75) has died.
Thaka who was in charge of Women Affairs and the Organising and Mobilisation Department in the opposition party died from Covid-19 related complications Thursday.
Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa confirmed the death of Thaka adding she was one of the party’s most senior and influential members who played key roles in different stages of the party’s life cycle since its formation.
Zapu was formed in 1961.
“Mrs Thaka, together with her late husband worked in Zambia during the early stages of our armed liberation struggle. They were both politically and struggle conscious and as such, found themselves right at the centre and forefront of all preparations, execution, and sustenance of Zapu’s liberation war in Zimbabwe, albeit in a uniquely different way,” he said.
Maphosa said during the liberation struggle, the Thaka family “converted” their home in Lusaka, Zambia into a transit place where most Zapu and other struggle leaders passed through.
He said it was at the Thakas’ Lusaka home that freedom fighters received the necessary support and assistance en-route to executing the war for independence.
“At their home, the struggle stalwarts got essential support materially and morally as they waited to proceed to the fighting zones. This is where our departed mother got Mother Theresa acclaim. She was very generous to the party and Zimbabwe’s struggle,” said Maphosa.
After independence, Maphosa said Thaka was part of the Zapu leaders who persuaded the party’s supporters to join the Unity Accord signed between the late President Robert Mugabe and also late Vice President Joshua Nkomo in 1987.
The Unity Accord saw the unification of Zanu and PF Zapu and the formation of Zanu PF.
“When Zapu was arm-twisted into signing the Unity Accord, Mrs Thaka is one of the leaders who took up the task of conscientising Zapu structures on the meaning of the decision to sign the Unity Accord and the importance of conforming to the status quo at that time,” Maphosa told NewZimbabwe.com.
“In her own admission, it was not an easy task but she had to do it, as a leader, and ensure lives were preserved as well as convince the people the country needed peace which the compromise brought. She believed the relative peace or its semblance, with all its shortcomings and misgivings, was the least Zimbabweans needed in order to achieve development.”
Thaka also played a leading role in the revival of Zapu in 2009, a process that involved pulling out of the infamous 1987 Unity Accord as well as re-instituting the party structures and programmes.
“She showed great leadership qualities throughout the painful process. Resolute as always, she remained calm through the storms and gave advice and mentoring to the party. Her prints are most visible in the women’s wing, Zimbabwe African Women’s Union, the current Presidency, and the Department of Organizing and Mobilisation.”