Lookout Masuku remembered

Zipra War Veterans Association spokesperson, Buster Magwizi, said Masuku was a political prisoner.

ZIMBABWE People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) ex-combatants yesterday held a memorial service in remembrance of their commander Lookout Masuku who died in 1986 shortly after his release from prison.

Masuku died on April 5, 1986, following his wrongful arrest and conviction by late former Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.

He had been detained for four years together with 86 other Zipra officials although the courts had cleared them of charges of planning a coup détat against Mugabe’s administration.

Mugabe accused the then late Joshua Nkomo’s PF Zapu of plotting to unseat his Zanu PF government and launched a witch-hunt named Gukurahundi which claimed over 20 000 civilian lives in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

Zipra War Veterans Association spokesperson, Buster Magwizi, said Masuku was a political prisoner.

“Little things can be forgotten but not the betrayal that Masuku suffered under the Zanu PF government,” Magwizi said.

“Masuku died as a political prisoner because those who had taken over power through some means feared that they could not rule when Masuku and the late former intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa were free.

“We have learnt that a country can be independent but with no freedom.”

In 1982, Masuku together with Dabengwa and others were arrested for allegedly planning a coup détat against Mugabe.

In 1983, the Supreme Court found Masuku and Dabengwa not guilty of the charges.

However, the police refused to release the duo and invoked emergency regulations, holding them for four years.

On March 11, 1986, the government released Masuku and Vote Muza, a Zapu  official, due to poor health.

Masuku was buried at Lady Stanley Cemetery on April 12, 1986.

In a speech on Masuku’s funeral, Nkomo said: “After all his sacrifices, Lookout died a pauper in our own hands, we cannot blame colonialism and imperialism for this tragedy. . . he is not being buried at the Heroes’ Acre. But they can’t take away his status as a hero. You don’t give a man the status of a hero. All you can do is recognise it. It is his.

“Yes, he can be forgotten temporarily by the State. But the young people who do research will one day unveil what Lookout did.”

On November 18, 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa renamed Llewellin Barracks, situated on the outskirts of Bulawayo, after Masuku.

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