The two MDC parties Sunday again boycotted the burial of national hero Nevison Nyashanu, where Acting President John Nkomo equated Zimbabwe to the Garden of Eden, blessed with abundant natural resources.
As the standoff over the issue of national heroes spills into the New Year, the MDC formations argued Zanu PF needed to consult them on the matter as agreed in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) failure of which would mean they would never attend such functions.
Nyashanu died on December 26, 2010, at the age of 84.
He is survived by his wife Shamiso, eight children and 24 grandchildren.
The boycott began in September last year at the burial of Ephraim Masawi who was declared a national hero.
The two MDCs at the time argued they should have been consulted in the process of according the late former governor of Mashonaland Central hero status.
Yesterday, MDC-T national spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said an “independent, inclusive and credible body that goes beyond the parameters and province of partisan politics” was needed (to confer hero status).
“We want the definition of a hero to be dissolved from the current divisive talk. Who is a hero? There is need for a national consensus like in other countries.”
He said the continued unilateral granting of hero status by Zanu PF was against the provisions of the GPA.
Edwin Mushoriwa, the MDC-M spokesperson said the party was against the process through which the hero status was being determined.
He said while the late Nyashanu could have been deserving (of hero status) there was a need to have a national framework on the conferment of hero status at various levels.
Mushoriwa said failure to attend yesterday’s burial was not deliberate as the party leadership had other commitments.
Speaking during the burial of Masawi last year, President Robert Mugabe said anybody who did not fight in the war of liberation should not dream of being accorded hero status and that only Zanu PF would decide who is laid to rest at Heroes’ Acre.
Addressing a few hundred mourners at the National Heroes’ Acre, Acting President John Nkomo referred to Genesis 1 verses 26-27 as a basis to justify the country’s controversial indigenisation and empowerment drive.
Nkomo insisted the two passages of the scripture be read before he delivered his speech to contextualise to why people were gathered at the national shrine.
The King James Bible reads: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
“Those among us who continue to think that the West means well for us by maintaining those sanctions and promises should think again,” Nkomo said.
“The West has no interest in Zimbabwe except furthering its own interest. And there will always be a rare coincidence of interest between us and the British.
“They want our land, they want our minerals and they want a pliable government that can protect their interests. We want our land back, we have reclaimed it and we are not going to give it back.”
The Acting President said the West should remove the illegal sanctions that continued to ruin the country’s pace of economic recovery.
“We want a controlling share in mining ventures and the West is opposed to that,” said Nkomo.
“Therefore there is no meeting of minds on this between us and the West.
“That is why it is imperative that we speak as Zimbabweans with one voice against the imposition of sanctions and we must also speak with one voice on indigenous empowerment.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said yesterday it was regrettable that the two MDC formations continued to boycott national events.
However Chamisa said there was a vast difference between Zanu PF and national events.
“Zanu PF is part of Zimbabwe but is not Zimbabwe,” said Chamisa.