In a move that is likely to rankle Professor Welshman Ncube and his MDC party, the late MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda’s family on Thursday said guests of honour at the weekend memorial service for their father would be MDC-T president and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Zanu PF second secretary and Vice-President John Nkomo.
The late trade unionist’s son Mbuso made no special mention of the MDC leader Ncube for the ceremony expected to be held in Filabusi on Sunday.
Mbuso said guests to the memorial service were invited, “not by the roles they played in politics, but in their individual capacities as people who had a relationship with my father”.
“We have found it inevitable to invite the likes of Vice-President Nkomo and Prime Minister Tsvangirai,” he said.
When NewsDay pressed him on whether an invitation had been extended to the MDC president and Industry and Trade minister Ncube, he said one
had been sent to the party in general.
“MDC president Welshman Ncube has not been invited in his personal capacity. Rather, his party has been invited and so far I have been notified that one of his MPs will be attending the memorial service and maybe his interests will also be represented,” he said.
However, MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said he was unaware of any invitation to the memorial service.
“I have no knowledge of any invitation. I have not seen the invite yet. You could check with the office,” he said.
Staff at the office also said they had not yet received such an invitation.
Efforts to get a comment from Ncube on Thursday proved fruitless as he did not answer his mobile phone.
Mbuso said the memorial service, to be held at Chada business centre commencing at 12 noon, was meant to bring together all the people that worked with Sibanda in order to celebrate his legacy.
“My father was a unifying force to everyone, be it politicians or family. We cannot begin to separate the 12th anniversary of the MDC-T with my father’s memorial. These are almost identical as they resemble the legacy of my father,” he said.
Mbuso said he felt obliged to protect and build as well as carry on with his mother and father’s legacy as they were “undeniably great people and principled politicians”.
“My mother is an unsung heroine. She is a political dynamo. This does not imply that I am taking credit away from my father. It simply indicates that my father is a ‘sung’ hero who was known by the whole country for his heroic deeds,” he said.
Sibanda died of cancer on August 23 last year.