ZAPU leader, Dumiso Dabengwa has implored Zimbabweans to honour forgotten liberation struggle icons such as the late Zanu founder, Ndabaningi Sithole, who was denied national hero status.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Dabengwa said Sithole and others should be recognised for their role in the liberation struggle, adding “we must identify and maintain a roll of honour for all those that sacrificed” their lives for the country’s independence.
“There are many heroes, who need our recognition and acknowledgement both dead and living,” he said.
“Our true liberation history ought to identify, in each province, all those brave men and women – civilian and military – who contributed to our struggle.”
Dabengwa made the remarks during Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) and pressure group Ibhetshu LikaZulu-organised Heroes Day celebrations in Bulawayo.
“The role they played in assisting the guerilla units was highly commendable. They were the water that made the fish survive,” he said.
“We should not also leave out other leaders of the liberation struggle, who contributed to the independence of this country, such as James Chikerema, Ndabaningi Sithole, Edgar Tekere and others.
“What we suggest is that each province must identify and maintain a roll of honour for all those that sacrificed for the liberation of our country.”
Sithole, the founding Zanu leader, was ousted in the 1970s and replaced with President Robert Mugabe.
He died in 2000 in the United States, where he had sought treatment.
Sithole was denied national hero status and was buried at his rural home in Chipinge.
Mugabe has said Zanu PF reserved the sole right to confer hero status, telling those not happy with the way the status is conferred to construct their own heroes acre.
Former Zanu PF politicians who have crossed paths with Mugabe have also been denied hero status.
“The act of heroism is both historical and factual. It just cannot simply be earned by future occurrences or happenings,” Dabengwa said.