Memorialisation of war heroes must be given priority

ZPRA Veterans Association says it is still waiting for the government to conduct a memorialisation exercise to honour those who were killed during the liberation struggle.

The former freedom fighters said they have continuously urged the government to conduct this exercise, as a memorialisation of the war will ‘cleanse the country of bad spirits,’ help in bringing peace while comforting those who lost their loved ones.

In an interview with CITE, ZPRA Veterans Association spokesperson, Buster Magwizi, lamented that the issue of memorialisation has not been given priority by the government.

“We have requested to carry out an exercise of memorialisation for the ex-combatants and all those who fought in the liberation struggle. Memorialisation will help in creating a culture of peace to come and settle in Zimbabwe. Memorialisation will be for the remembrance of all those who passed on during the liberation struggle and for claiming the spirits of this country,” he said.

Magwizi claimed despite the importance of the memorialisation exercise, their request has not received an audience from President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Contacted for comment, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications) George Charamba, said the president had been having discussions on the matter.

“This is a traditional and cultural issue. In fact, the president has been seized with this matter for a long time. It’s not just an issue now because you have stumbled on it,” he said.

The presidential spokesperson claimed the government was aware there were shrines of Zimbabweans who perished during war in countries such as Zambia, Angola, Mozambique and others where they had been operating, of which they were working on that.

“Our approach has not been to discuss such issues to anyone but to find ways on how we can work on them,” Charamba said.

In 2018, an ex-ZPRA intelligence official, Jeremy Brickhill once revealed that many people had often asked for a cleansing ceremony in Zimbabwe but the late former president, Robert Mugabe decided there would not be one as he was busy.

The ZPRA’s Veterans spokesperson said it was “disconcerting” because authorities who were supposed to take a lead in the coming together of Zimbabweans and building peace should start with memorialisation.

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