HomeLocal NewsKanengoni hero status: Mujuru stamps authority

Kanengoni hero status: Mujuru stamps authority

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VICE-PRESIDENT Joice Mujuru reportedly put her foot down to declare the late Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) deputy director (internal) Elias Kanengoni a national hero following stiff resistance by some senior Zanu PF officials in Mashonaland Central province, NewsDay established yesterday.

REPORT BY JOHN NYASHANU/ EVERSON MUSHAVA

It is understood that declaring Kanengoni a national hero torched a storm as Zanu PF factions sought to deny him the status because of infighting within the party.

By Friday night, Mashonaland Central Zanu PF chairperson Dickson Mafios said the provincial executive was yet to meet on the matter three days after the top spy had succumbed to renal failure. This forced Mujuru, who was acting President, to intervene and declare Kanengoni national hero. He was accused of belonging to a faction led by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mujuru reportedly leads another faction which is angling to succeed the 89-year-old President Robert Mugabe.

Well-placed Zanu PF sources said Mujuru took the position to contain the fissures in Mashonaland Central where Kanengoni was reportedly at loggerheads with the leadership.

“She (the VP) made it clear to the provincial leadership that Kanengoni was a real hero unlike many from the province lying at the national shrine. It was after this position by Amai Mujuru that he was finally declared national hero, but it shows the extent to which the province is divided,” the source said.

Kanengoni died last Wednesday, but his hero status was only proclaimed on Saturday. Speaking at his burial yesterday, Mujuru described Kanengoni as a dedicated and loyal cadre and a fountain of wisdom who worked tirelessly to protect the country’s sovereignty from regime change efforts.

“Cde Kanengoni is counted among the many men and women intelligence officers whose operational skills were deployed to counter persistent threats to the country’s sovereignty and national integrity,” Mujuru said.

She said the death of Kanengoni had left a void in the CIO and his desire to protect national interests should be emulated by all Zimbabweans.

Kanengoni’s daughter, Tabitha, said her father lived a full life — from liberating the country, to serving it after independence. She said the Kanengoni family would remain faithful to Zanu PF, which accorded their father hero status.

The burial was, however, snubbed by the MDCs who had no kind words for the deceased convicted of the attempted murder of Gweru businessman and parliamentary aspirant Patrick Kombayi in 1990.

He was released following a Presidential pardon just a few hours after imprisonment.

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said the national shrine was a preserve for people who fought for the people, not “hired assassins” terrorising civilians.

Mujuru pleaded for peace during the forthcoming general elections, calling for unity and tolerance between people of different political persuasions.

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