Tribalism? Chivaura a hero; Prof Moyo not

VICE President Emmerson Mnangagwa has denied allegations that Zanu PF practices tribalism when conferring hero status after a Shona and pro-Zanu PF academic was honoured while two noted scholars from Matebeleland were ignored.

Taken to task over hero status ... Emmerson Mnangagwa

Taken to task over hero status … Emmerson Mnangagwa

Mnangagwa was, last week, challenged by MDC MP Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga in Parliament to explain the omission of two late Matabeleland educationists when the state accorded liberation war hero status to Vimbai Chivaura, who was President Robert Mugabe’s praise singer.

Chivaura died November last year at 64 and was accorded liberation hero status which paved way for him to be given a State-assisted funeral.

The academic had also been ZBC-TV anchor of a controversial programme aimed at “educating” fellow Zimbabweans on national ethos which many viewed as Zanu PF propaganda.

“We realise that Sam Moyo and Lindela Ndlovu who died at that particular time were not given the same credentials,” said the proportional representation MP for Matabeleland South.

“So, I want to know how we are supposed to view this because at times it becomes problematic as we begin to believe that you look at where the person comes from.

“… If you look closely, the other two are from Matebeleland.”

In his response, Mnangagwa was at pains to convince the firebrand MP liberation war status could also be extended to those who excelled post-independence.

“… When we are talking about this, there is no tribalism involved,” Mnangagwa said.

“Those who worked were given state assisted funerals and those that you mentioned – it all depends on the province that they come from.

“They would not have approached government because if you are working, you will be assisted without any tribalism being involved. When you are working, it is for the betterment of the country and not for a particular tribe.”

Moyo was a researcher and leading academic and also founder of executive director of the African Institute of Agrarian studies while Ndlovu was former NUST vice chancellor Professor Lindela Ndlovu.

Mnangagwa went on to tell the house that a liberation hero was someone who, although not having participated in combat with the enemy, was a nationalist who supported the freedom of this country.

“So in that manner,” he continued, “there are people who were not of age, like the learned brother, whom we did not think would participate in the war but after independence, we realised that their works are good and have uplifted the country.

“These people might be missionaries, teachers or anyone involved in any kind of job, we accord them the liberation hero status, and this is bestowed on them from the area that they hailed from.

“We get the recommendations from their areas of origin.”

Controversy over the conferment of hero status by Zanu PF, which holds the prerogative, is not new in Zimbabwe.

Former PF Zapu stalwart Thenjiwe Lesabe was denied the highest honour of the land for ditching Zanu PF but the status was however granted to former Zanu PF secretary general Edgar Tekere who left the party early 1990s to form the Zimbabwe Unity Movement.

The two are both late.

President Mugabe’s opponents have accused the Zimbabwean leader of using the conferment of hero status to loyalists.

 

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