Former Defence minister and Zanu PF founder member Enos Nkala says he has “a low opinion” of President Robert Mugabe, but in his opinion the 87-year-old party leader remained national hero material because of his contribution towards the country’s liberation struggle.
“People get intimidated by his (President Mugabe) eloquence, but I have no regard for him. In fact, he is one of the people I have a very low opinion of. Some people are talented to emerge among others, but it doesn’t mean they are better than others.
“But you cannot reduce Robert Mugabe’s role. When (President) Mugabe dies, I will not diminish his role, he is a hero but some of his associates are idiots,” Nkala said during an interview yesterday.
Nkala, one of the few remaining leaders of the country’s armed struggle and Zanu PF founders, proceeded to give NewsDay his own list of people he said automatically deserved national hero status regardless of their current political persuasions.
The list includes: Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa, President Mugabe, Vice-President Joice Mujuru and her husband Retired Army General Solomon Mujuru, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and Vice-President John Nkomo.
Among the deceased politicians, Nkala said there was no need for Zanu PF’s politburo to sit down and deliberate the hero status of Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, Moton Malianga, Ndabaningi Sithole, Leopold Takawira, Herbert Chitepo, Josiah Tongogara, Paul Mushonga, James Chikerema, George Nyandoro, Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo and Lazarus Nkala.
“The rest we will be wasting our time discussing them, rubbish, garbage, waste.”
Nkala said: “Doing extraordinary things is a norm for heroes. So hero or not, I know my role.”
Nkala, who was reflecting on the life of the late former Zanu PF stalwart Edgar Tekere, said they went through pain and worked hard to form and build Zanu PF into a strong party.
“After the banning of Zapu in 1963, (the late Vice-President Joshua) Nkomo declared that we should not form another party. However, there were some of us who were opposed to that. We had a three-hour meeting with Nkomo about the formation of another party, and Nkomo ended up denouncing some of us — Mugabe, Takawira, Sithole, Tekere — as rebels.
“I led the list of rebellious people. Nkomo knew us as agitators. Because of this a group that was anti-Nkomo was formed. Later on the Zanu opposition party was formed under Sithole.
“We were a minority party, humiliated and despised by others. We were called rebels and sell-outs, but it didn’t bother us,” he said.