Poll rigger, fraudster Mwashita no hero, PDP

THE opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has accused President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF of insulting the Chitepos by deciding to bury the family matriarch and war heroine together with Vivian Mwashita at the Heroes Acre.

Died at her Harare home last Friday ... The late Victoria Chitepo

Died at her Harare home last Friday … The late Victoria Chitepo

The party said the joint burial was an attempt by Mugabe to ensure there was little focus on the Chitepos’ “illustrious history and great legacy”, adding that the Zanu PF leader was “troubled by the memorable work done by Herbert Chitepo during the liberation struggle”.

Mugabe will preside over the joint interment on Wednesday after he declared former CIO spy and Zanu PF activist Mwashita, 58, a national heroine.

Mwashita died last Friday, the same day as Victoria Chitepo, 88, wife of Zanu chairman Herbert Chitepo who was assassinated in Zambia in 1975.

In a statement Tuesday, the opposition PDP said the “conferment of national heroine status to the late Mwashita is highly demeaning to the people of Zimbabwe but especially the late Victoria Chitepo”.

“Mai Chitepo, who died last Friday at her home, was an unwavering struggle icon who fought tirelessly for the liberation of Zimbabwe, despite facing personal challenges after her husband; Herbert Chitepo was murdered by known Zanu leaders in March 1975 in Lusaka, Zambia,” said PDP defence secretary Tawanda Bvumo.

“She continued to diligently serve the people of Zimbabwe after independence in various ministerial positions that she held and will also be remembered in helping in the upliftment of marginalized, rural women.”

Mwashita’s honour, however, was undeserved.

“Mwashita like other Zanu PF crooks is a well-known fraudster who received hundreds of thousands dollars from the War Victims Compensation Fund in 1997 after claiming to have suffered 94% disability from war injuries,” explained Bvumo.

“Mwashita is also remembered for vote rigging in the August 1995 Harare South parliamentary election against an independent candidate, Margaret Dongo.”

Violence and election rigging

He added: “However, after Dongo’s defeat was announced, she was convinced that the election had been rigged, and challenged the result in court.

“The subsequent court case revealed serious defects in the electoral roll, including the registration of many non-resident voters, suggesting that at least 41% of the names on the roll were inaccurate.

“Dongo went back to Harare South as an independent candidate in the re-run and on 25 November 1995 she won the re-run against Mwashita. Mwashita then resorted to the use of political violence against those perceived to have voted against her and Zanu PF.”

The PDP official claimed Mugabe was trying to ensure the country is not reminded of the “illustrious history and great legacy” of the Chitepos.

“Robert Mugabe are troubled by the memorable work that was done by Herbert Chitepo during the liberation struggle. It is a shame that since Zanu PF is responsible for the death of Herbert Chitepo; it wants to score cheap political points even in death,” he said.

“It is for this reason that as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), we will not be going to the National Heroes’ Acre to pay our last respects to Mai Victoria Chitepo and we will honour the role she played during the struggle and post-independence in private.

“As PDP, our position is that the conferment of hero status is an important status and it cannot be done by a subjective organisation like the Zanu PF’s Politburo, which will most certainly discriminate against deserving individuals other deserving people such as the late Patrick Kombayi and Wilfred Mhanda.”

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