Zapu fumes as ex-freedom fighter denied national hero’s status

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE Bulawayo City Council has honoured late Zapu secretary for security, Canaan Ncube by allowing him to be buried at the revered Lady Stanley Cemetery.

This is after the Zanu PF politburo failed to accord the one time liberation fighter national hero status.

Ncube, who served under the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) intelligence during the liberation struggle, died aged 80 at a local hospital following a long illness.

He was also the inaugural chairperson of Zapu’s Bulawayo province after a section of the party’s leadership 2008 pulled out of the 1987 unity accord entered between the then Zanu and PF Zapu.

Said party spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa, “As Zapu, we are shocked that this government which calls itself the new dispensation has failed to declare Ncube a national hero.

“Ncube deserves that status due to his outstanding role during the struggle.

“Anyway, we are not bothered by the Zanu PF government’s deafening silence on his status because burying him at the Heroes Acre or not, that will not change the fact that he is a hero.”

Maphosa, who was speaking to, said the late liberation fighter will, instead, be buried at Lady Stanley Cemetery where some of his liberation war comrades are buried.

Lady Stanley Cemetery is a place reserved for the city’s most illustrious citizens.

It has however been converted into a de-facto Heroes Acre for ZIPRA veterans who have been denied the opportunity to be buried at the national shrine in Harare.

Some of the Zapu and Zipra cadres who have been interred at the cemetery include Lookout Masuku, former Matabeleland North, governor Welshman Mabhena; Isaac Nyathi, ZIPRA commander Swazini Ndlovu, Richard Dube and Ethan Dube.

“I think Ncube’s soul will be at peace at Lady Stanley because this is where some of his colleagues are buried,” Maphosa said.

“We are glad that the city fathers have honoured our gallant freedom fighter.”

Ncube is expected to be buried this Monday.

Zapu‘s president Isaac Mabuka said the national Heroes Acre has lost its dignity because it has been monopolised by Zanu PF.

“In any case, there is nothing special about Heroes Acre. Even the late former President Robert Mugabe who denied others hero statuses refused to be buried there. That place is now a circus,” said Mabuka.

The Zapu president said following the inception of the Emmerson Mnangagwa led government; his party expected the issue of national heroes’ status addressed.

“It is unfortunate that the new government continues to make the same mistake of choosing national heroes and heroines along partisan lines,” said Mabuka.