Harare – President Mnangagwa thinks that the accordance of national hero status to some and its withholding to others has been harsh in some cases and needs to be revisited.
In particular, Mnangagwa believes that Ndabaningi Sithole who died more than 20 years ago and was buried in his rural home in Chipinge deserved hero status and his case must be reviewed particularly as the country celebrates the National Heroes Day today.
The President said this in his weekly column to the The Sunday Mail.
He described Sithole as a luminary who despite his shortcomings provided ideological guidance to fighters and politicians alike during the country’s liberation struggle.
Sithole who was the first Zanu president and spent 10 years in detention was refused hero status by the late President Robert Mugabe who many thought used the honour to punish his personal enemies or appease his group of friends.
Mnangagwa said Government therefore wants to honour and give a ‘more forgiving eye’ to nationalists who contributed significantly to the liberation struggle but had the hero status withheld because they deviated at one stage or another.
“One man who looms large in the ranks of early leaders of our nationalist movement but is not at our national shrine is Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, the inaugural leader of the Zimbabwe National African Union at its formation after the 1963 split in the nationalist movement.
“Whatever his mistakes and missteps later in the struggle, he deserves mention and acknowledgement in national annals,” reflected Mnangagwa.
He said some nationalists who made mistakes did so because they were walking a fresh path and did not have the benefit of hindsight. He said a mature democracy need to more objectively look at its past, looking at what are generally accepted truths.
“Forty-two years on and especially on a day like tomorrow when we remember heroes of our National Struggle, we must take time to reflect on our past, wars and all. In that reflection, we must remember that like history itself, no human struggles ever follow straight lines. Struggles are fraught with meanders, detours, missteps, tensions and contradictions, all of which may now look easier to avoid or solve by hindsight. Yet as we all know, men and women who make history enjoy no benefit of hindsight.