Tsvangirai, Mugabe in Ndlovu tragedy stampede

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and his family have said they will foot all funeral expenses for Adam Ndlovu.

His political rival and uneasy partner in the shaky coalition government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his party demanded that Adam be declared a national hero.

He is also attending the former national team striker’s burial in Bulawayo tomorrow.

It is almost a stampede as the two men and their parties seek to score political goals from the horror crash which killed Adam and left Zimbabwe’s biggest soccer export Peter Ndlovu badly injured last weekend.

The two were not hyperactive politically. But that has not stopped politicians from falling over each other to be associated with the tragedy that has caught the attention of the entire nation.

Although Mugabe’s Zanu PF has denied conferring hero status to Ndlovu, party officials especially from Matabeleland region have been waxing lyrical about Ndlovu’s life, with the Bulawayo province having written to the politburo pleading that the former Warriors hitman be declared a national hero.

Didymus Mutasa, Zanu PF secretary for administration described the request as “stupid”, but his leader Mugabe, is not letting a chance to gain political mileage ahead of polls slip.

The First Family has pledged to foot all expenses related to Adam’s funeral.

Also in the mix is rich Mines minister Obert Mpofu, who is fast fashioning himself as the king of Matabeleland.

Mpofu on Tuesday visited Peter, the senior national team assistant coach, at Mater Dei Hospital where he is admitted.

The minister, who is MP for Umguza visited the Ndlovu family and conveyed his condolence message over the tragic death of the legendary former Zimbabwe international striker “Adamski”.

Seemingly not to be done by Zanu PF politicians, the MDC, which has always been at loggerheads with the Mugabe-led party over hero status qualification, has already declared the celebrated Highlanders striker a national hero.

Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, who is also the MDC vice president, on Tuesday urged Cabinet to consider Ndlovu a national hero.

The request was turned down by the Zanu PF side of the coalition government, which has steadfastly denied other national luminaries hero status on the basis that they did not take part in the 1970s liberation war or differed with Zanu PF ideologies after the attainment of independence in 1980.

In its resolutions after a meeting on Wednesday, the MDC national council declared Adam a national hero.
The premier has also confirmed that he will attend the burial of the late footballer tomorrow at the Lady Stanley Cemetery in Bulawayo.

Zimbabwe is headed for a watershed elections come next year and political analysts say MDC and Zanu PF, the two frontrunners on the political arena, are keen to be viewed as humane.

“It seems the stampede to bask in the glory of the Ndlovu brothers is all about wanting to exploit their fame for political gain especially for Zanu PF, a party whose popularity in Matabeleland — the Ndlovus’ home area — has been on the wane ever since the Gukurahundi period,” said Dewa Mavhinga, a social and political commentator.

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