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Sandi Moyo’s hero status rebuff sparks outrage

Local News
Sandi Moyo died on Thursday last week at Mater Dei Hospital aged 78, while undergoing treatment for hypertension.

THE government’s decision not to grant the late former Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Eunice Sandi Moyo national heroine status has sparked outrage in Matabeleland amid allegations that the ruling elite is perpetuating marginalisation of the region.

Civic groups, residents and political parties described the criteria of granting hero status as flawed, arguing that it had since lost credibility.

Sandi Moyo died on Thursday last week at Mater Dei Hospital aged 78, while undergoing treatment for hypertension.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa accorded her a State-assisted funeral with reports indicating that she will be buried at Lady Stanley cemetery tomorrow.

Zapu president Sibangilizwe Nkomo said the refusal was a deliberate move to erase the history of people from Matabeleland, particularly those who contributed immensely to Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

“We all know that Sandi Moyo was a Zapu cadre who went to Zambia with the aim of liberating this country with the likes of Lookout Masuku, Thenjiwe Lesabe and others,” Nkomo said.

“Unfortunately, we now have artists being accorded the hero status ahead of those who were in the trenches, forgetting that those who were in the war are the ones who made us what we are today.”

He also accused the Zanu PF leadership of attempting to distort the contribution made to Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle by people from the Matabeleland region.

“They will not succeed, facts are stubborn. It is not the government that is granting the heroes status, but Zanu PF as a party. If you talk negatively about Zanu PF or if you do not belong to it then you will be denied that status,” Nkomo said.

Mthwakazi Republic Party president Mqondisi Moyo said some undeserving people had been declared national heroes.

“Remember in 2010, Zanu PF refused to accord uMama Thenjiwe Lesabe national heroine status, arguing that she had become inconsistent and joined Zapu.

“I challenged Dydmus Mutasa for this while I was in Zapu. Check, last week Mnangagwa declared a certain Madzibaba hero status because he had 13 wives and 85 children, but this man did not participate in the liberation struggle,” Moyo said.

He said the hero status matrix remained a Zanu PF tribal prerogative.

“The other thing is that Eunice Sandi Moyo is paying for her sins in her death for being a G40 member,” he added.

Human rights activist Ambrose Sibindi also questioned the criteria used in the selection of the country’s heroes.

“I worked with her, especially during the time when she was involved in non-governmental organisation activities. She did a lot in uplifting  of the standards of our youth up to the time when she was appointed Resident minister,” Sibindi said.

Gwanda resident Siduduzile Masilela said sidelining of Sandi Moyo was a deliberate move to continue with the marginalisation of people from Matabeleland.

“This should not be politicised, but should be on merit,” Masilela said.


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