We cried when Sithole was refused hero status – Kumbula

Steve Ephraem

Own Correspondent

CHIPINGE–The decision by the Government of the late President Mugabe to refuse Ndabaningi Sithole hero status when he died in 2000 was so bitter to many people in Chipinge that they wept at the news.

Former ZANU (Ndonga) president Wilson Kumbula was close to Sithole’s burial arrangements. He said he broke into tears when former Zanu PF secretary for Information Dr. Nathan Shamuyarira broke the news to him that the Government had turned down the hero status request for Sithole.

He said the news was a bitter pill for Sithole’s United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe (UCCZ), his family, his new political outfit Zanu Ndonga and the people of Chipinge.

He, however, said Mnangagwa’s declaration opens a new Chapter for Chipinge, a district that has remained a thorn in the flesh to Zanu PF in all elections since Independence.

Kumbula was speaking to The Mirror after President Emmerson Mnangagwa conferred the hero status on Sithole by 22 years after his death.

Declaring the hero status on Sithole, Mnangagwa said that some decisions made by his party were too harsh, and this was more so for Sithole, the founding President of Zanu PF. He said that the history of the liberation struggle needs to be written in view of Sithole as a hero.

Kumbula, popularly known, as Kujokochera, took over the presidency of ZANU (Ndonga) upon the death of Sithole.

“I was with Professor Masipula Sithole, the young brother of Rev Sithole and UCCZ officials, when Sithole’s body arrived from the USA on a Tuesday. 

“We wrote to ZANU (PF) that constituted the Government of the day to give Rev Sithole hero status. Nathan Shamuyarira who was the party’s spokesperson, indicated that the position was to be decided by Politburo.

“We waited until Friday, and no response came. Professor Masipula and I then decided to take Rev Sithole to Mt Selinda in Chipinge, his rural home. We spent the whole day in church at Mt Selinda, and again there was no response. On Saturday, we dug Ndabaningi’s grave at Mt Selinda.

“I phoned Shamuyarira again to confirm if the hero status would be given, and that is when he gave me six reasons why Ndabaningi was not declared a national hero. 

“I couldn’t continue listening to the reasons since I had broken into tears pondering on the struggles which Rev Sithole encountered in the liberation of Zimbabwe. We buried him at Mt Selinda, but we were bitter and shaken.

“We, however, continued to persuade Government on the matter, and we are happy that this year President Mnangagwa finally agreed to confer national hero status on Sithole.

“We are still waiting to be further guided by the President on our next position. This is a new chapter for Chipinge,” said Kumbula.https://masvingomirror.com/

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