THE death of Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) deputy director (internal) Elias Kanengoni, who was 60, has divided Zanu PF amid reports that the Mashonaland Central provincial party leadership was fiercely resisting the spy agency’s request to accord him national hero status.
REPORT BY JOHN NYASHANU
Kanengoni, a former Zanu PF central committee member, collapsed at his Whitecliff Farm in Mazowe and was pronounced dead on arrival at a private clinic in Harare on Wednesday.
According to Zanu PF protocol, should a senior member of the security forces die, both the sector and the party’s provincial leadership where he hails from should make recommendations to accord hero status to the party politburo.
The process is usually instituted immediately after the cadre’s death, but in Kanengoni’s case, the province was yet to come up with a position by last night.
Well-placed Kanengoni family sources told NewsDay yesterday that the Dickson Mafios-led Zanu PF Mashonaland Central provincial leadership was determined to ensure that the top spy was not buried at the national shrine because of party factionalism.
The family was adamant that they would accept nothing less than national hero status for Kanengoni, a veteran of the liberation struggle.
“Should they accord him any other status less than national hero, we will bury him at home ourselves. It would be a mockery to the man who did so much for this country. There are lots of national heroes buried at the national shrine whose contribution to the liberation of this country is far less compared to Kanengoni,” the family source said in reference to late national heroes like Border Gezi, Elliot Manyika and Ephraim Masawi.
Mafios confirmed that the province had not reached consensus on Kanengoni’s hero status.
“We are still consulting. At the moment, we have not yet come up with a common position. We should be done either by tonight or tomorrow (today),” Mafios said.
Pressed to explain why the process had taken long for someone who died on Wednesday, Mafios said: “We convene as a province. As you know, we are scattered all over the province and the process cannot just be done overnight.”
He also rubbished allegations of a tug-of-war with the CIO.
“These are blues. The thing is simply that we are only consulting like any other province does,” he added.