We have a distorted national heroes' history: PM

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said the country was in a crisis after failing to honour true liberation heroes and heroines who do not belong to Zanu PF.

Addressing mourners gathered for the funeral of the late Vesta Sithole , wife to the late Ndabaningi Sithole in Harare yesterday.

Tsvangirai said it was a travesty that real heroines like Sithole who helped wage the armed struggle are not accorded such an honour all because of political “mischief”.

He said there was need to revisit the criteria used to determine conferral of national hero and heroine status, which is currently the preserve of the Zanu PF politburo.

The PM said there was urgent need to confer hero status even to those who are not Zanu PF — people like Vesta Sithole.

“We have a crisis, we have a distorted history of national heroes, and I think the next government should revisit the measure that is being used when determining a national hero,” he said.

“It is very sad that real heroines like Vesta are not honoured all because of party politics. We might fail to correct this anomaly now in the inclusive government but I hope the successive government will correct it,” he added.

Vesta was wife to Zanu Ndonga’s founding president and hero of the 1970s liberation struggle that gave birth to the country’s independence from Britain in 1980.

She also participated in the liberation struggle but Zanu PF refused to recognise her as a heroine because she is not a member of the party.

Born in 1942, Vesta joined the freedom fight in 1960 through Zapu, a party that was led by her husband and the late vice president Joshua Nkomo.

With her late husband Ndabaningi Sithole, she formed Zanu Ndonga, a party that has remained popular in Chipinge.

Speaking at the same funeral, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara said people like Vesta and her late husband should be recognised beyond party political level as their contributions to the country surpassindividual political parties.

“We must respect wives of politicians because they are not ordinary people, Zanu PF would have not been there had it not been for the likes of Vesta who stood hard and braved to free this country,” Mutambara said. “They do not belong to Zanu, but they are national figures.

“We must thrive to build on a national shared legacy that is beyond small party politics. We must respect women politicians who went into the liberation struggle, the likes of Vesta, Margaret Dongo, Oppah Muchinguri and Mai Mujuru, they represent a rare class of people,”said Mutambara.

The funeral was attended by other political leaders from other parties like Dongo, Reketai Semwayo, leader of Zanu Ndonga and Members of Parliament from across the political divide. - Xolisani Ncube

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