Khupe queries Gwakuba national hero snub

Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, has said she would investigate why the late veteran journalist, historian and ZAPU former director of information and publicity, Saul Gwakuba-Ndlovu, who died last month was not declared a hero.

Gwakuba-Ndlovu succumbed to a heart ailment on July 16 at the United Bulawayo Hospitals and was buried at Lady Stanley Cemetery on the 22nd of the same month.

However, failure by the government to accord him a hero status despite his contribution to the country’s liberation struggle angered many in Matabeleland who have always accused the Harare administration of marginalising the region and its people.

Speaking in Parliament Wednesday, MDC-T vice president, Thokozani Khupe requested that the issue of Gwakuba be relooked into.

That was after Muchinguri-Kashiri had outlined how heroes in Zimbabwe are declared by the President.

“A case in point is of Cde Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu where a process was followed and everybody knows his credentials, he was one of the first people who went out to liberate this country,” said Khupe.

“Everybody knows what he did but up to now, nothing has come out. My request to the Hon. Minister is, can you please have a relook into this matter because it would appear as if there is discrimination and we do not want that to happen. Can you please have a relook at that issue of Cde Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu so that at least we know what happened?”

In her response, Muchinguri-Kashiri said she would investigate the issue.

“Mr. Speaker Sir, I was not aware that there was such a case which is of great concern to the nation,” she said. 

“Regrettably, if there was an error which happened during that time, I do not know when this happened but I have taken note of the concern that she has raised.  I am going to investigate and I will bring the response before the House.”

In 2014, Gwakuba was among 21 pioneers of the liberation struggle who received the Liberation and Independence Medals, together with six serving Zimbabwe Defence Forces members and three who were retired.  

“It is sad that our system of conferring respect to some of the people who have contributed to the country, we believe is not fair,” said Gwakuba’s nephew, Bulukani Masola on the burial day of his uncle.

“We all thought that the conferment of Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu as a national hero was going to be a reality but all of us are saddened and very hurt as the family and the leadership must understand that there are other things like this that are not acceptable. This man gave so much.”

However, Bulawayo provincial affairs minister, Judith Ncube, said they sent to Harare detailed information about Gwakuba’s contribution to the country for hero status consideration, adding he worked very hard for Zimbabwe.

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