Tuesday, 19 May 2020

SIKHOSANA TO BE BURIED TODAY


NATIONAL Hero Cde Absolom Sikhosana, who died on Saturday, was given an emotional send-off in two funeral services held at the White City Stadium B Arena in Bulawayo and his farm at Inyathi where speakers testified to his loyalty and commitment to the ruling Zanu-PF.

In the midst of the ravaging Covid-19, party members who formed the majority of mourners, and members of the community gathered at Inyathi and Bulawayo observing regulations to fight the pandemic as they formed bee lines at the respective entrances to sanitise their hands before sitting more than a metre apart.

In Bulawayo for the programme led by Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube, party members, in their small number in adherence to measures to fight Covid-19, managed to paint the arena into yellow, green, white and red as they donned different shades of the ruling party’s regalia to bid farewell to Cde Sikhosana.

Zanu-PF national political commissar Cde Victor Matemadanda represented the ruling party and also in attendance was Zimbabwe national Liberation War Veterans chairperson and Politburo member Cde Chris Mutsvangwa, Cde Angeline Masuku, Cde Tshinga Dube, Kenneth Musanhi, acting Zanu-PF secretary for youth affairs Cde Tendai Chirau and members of his executive, who included Cdes Mabutho Moyo and Sibongile Sibanda among others.

From the Government side was the Minister for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution Abednico Ncube, deputy director-general in the Central Intelligence Organisation Dr Gatsha Mazithulela, deputy minister of Primary and Secondary Education Cde Edgar Moyo and Zanu-PF Umzingwane legislator Retired Brigadier-General Levi Mayihlome and members of the security sector.

Minister Ncube said Cde Sikhosana fought the good fight and duly deserved to be accorded national hero status.

“I worked With Cde Sikhosana since 1981 until today, and it was a blessing to have worked with him all these years, there was no reason to fight Cde Sikhosana because he was loved by everyone and truly God sent,” she said.

The Minister recalled the day Cde Sikhosana was admitted to hospital last Monday when the national hero called her asking for assistance as he was struggling to get out of his car. 

“Little did I know that he was saying goodbye, we called the doctors to immediately assist him and when later we visited him, he said ‘Sisi thank you, you saved my life’. Little did we know that it was towards the end,” she said.
Minister Ncube paid tribute to the Zanu-PF party membership for assisting Cde Sikhosana’s family singling out Cdes Dube, Masuku and Joshua Malinga for taking a lead in ensuring the smooth running of things and also engaging Cde Sikhosana’s family.

She said an initial decision was that Cde Sikhosana be buried in Bulawayo but the national leadership had seen it fit that he be buried at the National Heroes Acre.

Zanu-PF national political commissar Cde Matemadanda said the party lost a gallant fighter, leader, teacher, motivator and a true nationalist who fulfils the definition of a hero.

“He was persistent and consistent and for that I think the National Hero status was not conferred on him but he earned it. It was an automatic decision because Cde Sikhosana is a hero par excellence,” said Cde Matemadanda.

He said Cde Sikhosana, from the time he joined the liberation struggle, never veered off the road and became a remarkable leader post-independence from the time he was youth leader to other politburo portfolios. “When the provincial structures of Bulawayo were dissolved it was discussed that Cde Sikhosana be the coordinating chairperson of the province. Despite the fact that he was not well, Cde Sikhosana dutifully carried out the task without ever complaining,” said Cde Matemadanda.

There was a moment of laughter when Cde Matemadanda recognised the presence of Cde Mutsvangwa whom he said was one of the best English speakers he knows.

He said Bulawayo has suffered a double tragedy as it no longer has a chairperson and President Mnangagwa will make an announcement of a replacement after the burial of Cde Sikhosana.

“The lasting solution would be to have provincial elections and the process will be done after the Covid-19 pandemic is defeated,” he said.

A family representative thanked the Government and President Mnangagwa for the assistance rendered to the family after the death of Cde Sikhosana.

Before the Bulawayo service, Cde Sikhosana’s body had been taken, aboard a ZNA helicopter, to his farm in Inyathi, Bubi District.

Zanu-PF Bubi legislator Cde Sonny Mguni said during Cde Sikhosana’s time as Zanu-PF Youth League secretary, there was discipline among party youth.

“I want to commend President Mnangagwa for declaring Cde Sikhosana a national hero. He earned his national hero status. He deserved being declared a national hero due to his works that we all know about. It was going to be shocking if he was not declared a national hero and not buried at the national shrine. Cde Sikhosana would be remembered for his time as the Youth League secretary. He instilled discipline among the party’s youths and during his time we never heard of any squabbles and noises coming from the Youth League,” said Cde Mguni.

Zanu-PF Matabeleland North Women’s League chairperson Cde Madeline Bhebhe said Cde Sikhosana was a unifier.

“We know how Bulawayo is but he managed to lead Bulawayo without us hearing of any squabbles coming from the province. He was the type of a leader who would listen and accommodate every opinion. As Zanu-PF Women’s League, we know of his leadership qualities and we feel the country has lost a great leader. We mourn together with Sikhosana’s family,” she said.

Senior Government officials including Matabeleland North Provincial Development Coordinator Ms Latiso Dlamini, the security sector and members of the public attended the funeral service. After the funeral service in Bulawayo, Cde Sikhosana’s body was taken aboard a ZNA helicopter and as it took off, mourners burst into song in their final tribute to the national hero who will be buried at the National Heroes Acre today. Chronicle

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