FORMER Cabinet minister and one of Zanu PF’s founding members Enos Nkala has died.
JOHN NYASHANU/NQOBANI NDLOVU
He was 81.
Family spokesperson Herbert Nkala said the veteran politician succumbed to a kidney condition and heart attack yesterday morning at a private hospital in Harare where he had been admitted since August 7.
“We tried all we could, but without success. He battled a kidney ailment for two years and we took him to various health centres locally and outside the country,” said Nkala.
“At first we took him to Cape Town before he was admitted at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo where he stayed for seven days before we resolved to bring him to the Avenues Clinic in Harare where there are better facilities.”
Although Zanu PF had not yet announced its plans on the former Defence minister’s hero status yesterday, the late outspoken politician is on record as saying he did not wish to be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre.
“My being not buried at Heroes’ Acre does not cancel my status. I don’t want to go there, I just don’t want. There are reasons why I think I should be buried in my region, within my province by my people. I don’t want my body to be carried and put into that place.
I don’t like it personally from my point of view,” Nkala told a local online publication in 2011.
“That thing (National Heroes’ Acre) was copied from North Korea; I’m not a North Korean. I’m a Zimbabwean, proud of what I am and my origin, so I’m not going to be thrown to some hill for the prestige of it. That’s my reason.”
Zanu PF was formed at Nkala’s home at House Number 4449, Old Highfield, Harare, in August 1963 by an eight-member breakaway faction from the then Joshua Nkomo-led Zapu. Other members who attended the historic meeting were the late Herbert Chitepo, Leopold Takawira, Ndabaningi Sithole, Edgar Tekere, Henry Hamadziripi and Mukudzei Midzi.
Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairman Callistus Ndlovu described the late Nkala as one of the founders of nationalism in Zimbabwe.
“We received the news with sadness. It’s a pity he has died,” Ndlovu said.
Ndlovu said the party leadership would meet to decide on Nkala’s hero status.
“It’s a collective decision of the party which is finalised by the politburo. There are some people who might feel that he deserves hero status, but it is not for me to say. The leadership will decide,” Ndlovu said.
Ndlovu said the late Nkala gave birth to nationalism in Zimbabwe and was instrumental in the fight against the white colonial regime.
“Nkala was generally the founder of nationalism in this country. He was at the forefront in the formation of Zanu PF. I think the leadership from both wings — I mean Zapu and Zanu PF — admit he was one of the most effective leaders against colonialism,” Ndlovu said.
Nkala served variously as Minister of Finance, National Supplies, Home Affairs and Defence in the years leading to the 1987 Unity Accord that ended the Gukurahundi massacres.
Nkala vehemently denied any involvement in the Gukurahundi massacres, saying he expressed his opposition to the operation that left over 20 000 civilians dead.
Before his death, Nkala said he was writing a book chronicling all that happened in Zanu PF since its formation, including the Gukurahundi massacres and the assassination of several high-profile officials through car accidents. He said the book would be released after his death.
“He was forthright and direct in what he thought or felt. He never kept a grudge against anyone. People sometimes will not be very happy with his pronouncements. He did not have any evil intentions against anyone. I knew him to be a person who made sure that things were done accordingly,” Ndlovu said.
Mourners are gathered at Herbert’s house at Number 62 Carrick Creagh in Borrowdale, Harare, while others are at the late nationalist’s Bulawayo residence at Number 9 Eastwood Road in Woodlands.