Zapu welcomes national hero honour on ex-Zipra cadres, but pleads for more

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

OPPOSITION Zapu says it was encouraged by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s renewed stance to confer national hero status on more former ZIPRA senior cadres.

However, the party feels government could still do more by prioritising the welfare of surviving ZIPRA liberation war ex-commanders.

This follows the conferment of the highest honour of the land on former ZIPRA commander Stanley Nleya.

Nleya died at the United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH) Tuesday last week due to heart ailment.

He was set to be interred at the national shrine this Wednesday.

The recognition comes not too long since former Zapu secretary general Absolom Sikhosana was also declared national hero and was buried at the National Heroes Acre.

Commenting on Nleya, Zapu acting president Isaac Mabuka said his party welcomed the recognition.

“As Zapu, we are happy that our liberation cadres are now being gradually accorded national hero status,” he told Tuesday.

“Our main worry is that most of these people are living miserable lives and we urge the government to look after these commanders who sacrificed their lives during the liberation struggle.”

Some of the former ZIPRA cadres who have been declared national heroes by Mnangagwa’s government include Brigadier-General Crispan Masuku.

However, during late former President Robert Mugabe’s rule, a lot of former Zapu top politicians were denied the status.

Some of the prominent names include Lookout Masuku, former Matabeleland North governor Welshman Mabhena, Isaac Nyathi, ZIPRA commander Swazini Ndlovu, Richard Dube, Ethan Dube, among others.

Most of the ZIPRA cadres are buried at Lady Stanley Cemetery which has become a de-facto heroes acre for ZIPRA veterans who would have been denied the highest honour of the land.

Meanwhile, Mabuka has described the late Nleya as a true, fearless and professional soldier.

Said the opposition politician, “Nleya actually trained me in Zambia. He was a rear commander. He trained a special group of ZIPRA cadres commando which he termed commando,” said Mabuka.

Nleya’s Chimurenga name was Elish Gagisa.