Following the tragic and shocking death of Retired General Solomon Mujuru in a blaze at his farm, the country’s major political parties buried their differences and came together in the clearest sign yet that the credentials of a true and genuine hero are unquestionable.
This is in sharp contrast to some people who have been declared national heroes, when other political parties in the Government of National Unity (GNU) refused to attend the burial on the basis there was no consensus on those individuals.
Mujuru belonged to that crop of war veterans who, after demobilisation, took their place in society and chose to eke out a living like the rest of the ordinary people and in some cases, opted to run businesses away from public limelight.
He certainly did not believe Zimbabweans owed him anything because he fought in the liberation struggle. He belonged to that rare breed of nationalists who, after drawing satisfaction from what they had set out to attain – freedom from white rule and the right to self-determination – blended with the rest of the toiling nation and never regarded themselves as demi-gods.
Mujuru never preached violence. Neither did he dish out threats to “go back to the bush” should someone without liberation war credentials assume the highest office in the land.
It is without doubt that following his death at such a critical point in the country’s political history, some people are merely shedding crocodile tears as he was viewed as a threat in some political circles. Perhaps others could even be popping champagne right now, particularly in view of the many loopholes visible in the circumstances surrounding his death at the moment.
Mujuru belonged to a crop of credible nationalists whose war history is beyond reproach. The list includes other illustrious sons of the soil like the late Josiah Tongogara, Lookout Masuku, Alfred Nikita Mangena, Herbert Chitepo and Leopold Takawira among many others.
Their exploits are beyond question. We would urge our politicians, who usually brag about having ‘fought for this country’, to draw precious lessons from the life of the late General.
This is so unlike some shifty characters like Jabulani Sibanda who move around the nation terrorising citizens when their own war credentials are very questionable. Despite his record, we never heard Mujuru lashing out at opposition parties.
He was a real war veteran who always transcended parochial party politics. Unless you were told so, you would never have thought of Mujuru as a war veteran and the first commander of the defence forces in independent Zimbabwe.
Such was his humility. He was such an unassuming personality too. He carried his war credentials with such admirable dignity. He is a true war veteran and hero.