Matabeleland MPs cry favouritism over Gwakuba Ndlovu hero snub
MPs representing constituencies in Matabeleland Wednesday took Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe to task over government’s failure to accord hero status on late veteran journalist and liberation war fighter Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu.
Kazembe said he was not aware the former Chronicle and Sunday News scribe, who died on 16 July, fought the liberation struggle.
Bulawayo Proportional Representation MP Thokozani Khupe said this was a “sad reality”.
She said Gwakuba Ndlovu was one of the pioneers of the struggle once honoured with liberation and independence medals.
“…As far as I am concerned, he is one of the good candidates of a hero status,” she said.
Magwegwe MP Anele Ndebele said “we are duty bound to remind and at times demand of our own State to honour heroes in an equal and transparent manner”.
He said, “snubbing Saul Gwakuba is snubbing the contribution of ZIPRA as well as that of ZAPU to the struggle for Zimbabwe”.
Umzingwane MP Levi Mayihlome questioned why “a person who joined the struggle in 1960 has been deprived the status of a hero while a person who joined the struggle in 1978 has been accorded the national hero status within 24 hours”.
“What is the criterion that is used to confer hero status on retired uniformed members and war veterans? We want this to be clear so that we allay the fears of people out there.
“We come from a region where people have been perceiving marginalization, we want the Minister to be clear on what criteria he uses and what is the process that is required for the conferment to take place,” he said.
In his response, Kazembe, whose ministry is also responsible for burying heroes, denied any alleged biases.
“I would like to clear some air with regards to something that I heard to the effect that there could be bias in terms of conferring heroes status.
“…A lot of people from different backgrounds have been conferred hero status regardless of where they come from, whether it is Manicaland, Mashonaland Central or Matabeleland,” he said.
Kazembe insisted the Emmerson Mnangagwa administration has, in fact, been so accommodative to a point of even granting artists hero’s status.
“For starters, I want to be perfectly honest that the New Dispensation has been doing things differently in a new manner, especially with regards to the issues to do with heroes and heroines.
“We have noticed that for the first time since independence, we have had even musicians in the name of Oliver Mtukudzi being accorded that status. We have also Soul Jah Love, a youth and also we had an actress; I think the surname was Nhira if I am correct.
“This shows that there is no discrimination whatsoever. I am also hearing now that the late journalist was also a liberation war veteran,” he said.