Late hero Abraham Nkiwane bangs door on Mnangagwa
By Nkosana Dlamini
Late ex-ZIPRA commander and national hero Abraham Nkiwane has joined the growing list of towering former PF Zapu politicians to decline government’s offer for burial at the national shrine in Harare.
Nkiwane, who died of prostate cancer aged 93 in Bulawayo this week, was accorded national hero’s status by government.
The icon, famed for being the first person to smuggle weapons from Zambia in 1962, chose to buried at his farm in Umguza district on the outskirts of Bulawayo with the burial date yet to be finalised.
Family spokesperson Pastor Fairchild Mhlophe said the decision to be interred in Umguza was the liberation hero’s wishes.
“We are yet to come up with the burial date, but the burial site is his farm and as a family we agreed to honour his wish,” he said.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has spoken glowingly about the late liberator’s heroics during the armed struggle, but there is little to show by way of any government gratitude over his sacrifices.
The Zanu PF led administration has often been accused of overlooking former PF Zapu top leaders in terms of government positions and other forms of recognition while consigning their war heroics to the dustbins of history.
As a result, the politicians from the once rival liberation movement have vented their disgruntlement through refusal to be buried at the national shrine.
Former ZIPRA intelligence chief and one time government minister Dumiso Dabengwa and his opposition Zapu party he led at the time of his death rejected interment at the national shrine before he died in 2019.
Late former Matabeleland North governor and another PF Zapu liberation stalwart Welshman Mabhena was even more dramatic about the rejection when he once said he would not want to be buried among “thieves and murderers” at the national heroes’ acre.
However, the case of Nkiwane, a Gukurahundi survivor, would even be more objectionable should he be taken to the national shrine almost at the same time with late Zimbabwe National Army commander Edzai Chimonyo who is among the country’s top military figures fingered for visiting horrendous abuses on then PF Zapu leaders and their followers during the dark period in the early 1980s.
Speaking to the media Friday, Zapu spokesperson said his party hoped Mnangagwa will not “disrespect Cde Nkiwane by dragging his corpse to that defiled hill against his wishes and bury him side by side on the same day with Gukurahundi commander Edzayi Chimonyo”.
Zanu PF secretary of administration Obert Mpofu said government and the party will respect Nkiwane’s wishes.