Sunday 11 June 2023


Former deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara has dismissed the move by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to officially confer national hero status on Zanu founder Ndabaningi Sithole as a ‘fradulent charade’.

Sithole died in December 2000 in the United States and was buried at his family farm in Mt Selinda, Chipinge.

He was denied hero status by the late Robert Mugabe because of previous grudges dating back to the days of the liberation struggle.

In August last year, Mnangagwa conferred the national hero status on Sithole and James Chikerema. Sithole was officially honoured yesterday.

Mutambara, who served in government between 2009 and 2013, said Zimbabweans always viewed the late Sithole as a hero and did not require any endorsement from Zanu-PF.

“Zanu PF is not qualified to make or unmake Sithole's hero status,” Mutambara said.

“More specifically, Mnangagwa (given his limited, frivolous and undecorated involvement in the liberation struggle) is not qualified to speak on Ndabaningi Sithole's heroic contributions to the liberation of Zimbabwe.”

“Throughout his life in independent Zimbabwe, Sithole suffered persecution and harassment at the hands of Zanu PF and its government.”

“Hence the fraudulent charade and vote-buying gimmick at Freedom Farm today must be condemned with the contempt that they deserve,” Mutambara said.

Sithole was the founding president of Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) in 1963.

He was subsequently jailed along with other nationalists including Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo in 1964.

He was later deposed in a palace coup engineered by Mugabe who accused him of denouncing the liberation struggle during a court trial in 1975.

Sithole, then labelled a sellout, later served in the executive of the transitional government of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia in 1979.

He later formed another party, Zanu Ndonga, with a strong support base among his own Ndau people in Chipinge.

The overwhelming support which Sithole and Zanu Ndonga received from Chipinge made him a major opposition force against  Zanu PF and Mugabe. Standard


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