Who deserves to be a hero?

HARARE - Wilfred Mhanda lies quietly at Glen Forest Memorial Park.

The absence of the national anthem, reverie and the gun salute did not take away his illustrious liberation history.

Known by his nom de guerre Dzinashe Machigura, the late war commander died in Harare on Wednesday after battling colon cancer.

His death has brought into sharp focus Zanu PF flippancy towards genuine heroes who selflessly gave their all in the struggle but whom they deny hero/oine status because of fall-outs.

Mhanda was a true liberation fighter who deserved hero status despite his fall-out with President Robert Mugabe and his colleagues in Zanu PF.

Mugabe and Zanu PF have flip-flopped on conferring hero status.

History is littered with political heavyweights that automatically deserved hero status but were denied by Zanu PF and those who had well-documented fall-outs with the liberation movement who were declared heroes.

Zanu founder Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, a towering figure of the struggle, died after enduring torture and severe political harassment at the hands of a government run by a colleague — Mugabe who formed part of the historical group that founded this liberation group.

He was not declared a hero.

Former politburo heavyweight, Thenjiwe Lesabe was denied a heroine status in a shock move that was linked to her alleged participation in the so-called Tsholotsho illegal meeting, which rivals claimed was aimed at scuppering vice president Joice Mujuru’s bid to the presidium.

Zipra commander Lookout Masuku was jailed, released and jailed for an alleged coup against Mugabe.

Upon his death, he was conferred with the national hero status.

Another Zanu founder — Enos Muzombi Nkala — was cut loose by Mugabe and endured years of neglect and suffering up to the time of his death.

But the acrimony and bitterness could not take away his liberation contribution.

Fittingly, he was declared a national hero.

Firebrand Edgar Tekere was hounded out of Zanu PF and formed his own party. He remained an arch critic of Mugabe and Zanu PF policies.

Upon death, all was “forgotten” and he was declared a national hero.

While Mhanda’s snub was not surprising, the muted response to his death by those in Zanu PF betrays genuine comrades who know the role Dzinashe Machingura played.

This is what is surprising and serves to highlight the flippant response that Mugabe and Zanu PF are known for when it comes to some of the liberation heroes who deserve respect and honour.

So who deserves to be a hero?

Comments (5)

You can confer hero status on your perceived heros. there is nothing about that but you need to know that Zanu PF has its own heroes. If Mhanda was your hero its fine but to us he sold out!

godfrey gudo - 2 June 2014

With due respect to one Godfrey Gudo above, his argument is really and fittingly a baboon argument - irrational, primitive and stone-age! No wonder we are in such a self-inflicted mess as a country.

Kt - 2 June 2014

Kt , you are very correct, hope is corrected. Wafa wanaka hamayangu.

deeds - 2 June 2014

RGM has pertsonalised,the liberation struggle,all uniformed forces,all civil service& Zimbabwe as a whole. Remember he deliberately omitted Chitepo, Tongogara & many others for posthumous war hero decoration saying it was an oversight but an ongoing exercise. One can never be conferred national hero status after a fall-out with him. On Tekere,he had no choice but he went to SA to avoid the national hero's burial at the hero's acre.


bulawayo zanu pf province is full of Yes men, how could they not force thenjwe lisabe to be declared a national hero

hubert - 4 June 2014

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