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National hero snub for Gwakuba-Ndlovu: Family member speaks out

The late veteran journalist Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu’s nephew, Bulukani Masola, has questioned the criteria used to declare heroes in Zimbabwe after authorities failed to honour his uncle despite the evident role he played in the liberation of the country.

Heroes in Zimbabwe are declared by the President after consultations with the Zanu-PF politburo, a process that has been criticised by the opposition political parties as very unfair and compromised.

Gwakuba, who succumbed to a heart ailment last Friday at the age of 87, was the ZAPU director of publicity and information between 1964 and 1978.

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.

Gwakuba was laid to rest at Lady Stanley Cemetery in Bulawayo with the government still mum on any form of recognition given to him.

This however has not gone down well with some people in Matabeleland, who have long accused the Harare administration of treating them as second class citizens.

“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,” Masola told mourners.

“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.”

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.

“Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu is a man and a son of the soil; there is no way that what he has done will be erased by anyone,” she said.

“He has done a lot for the nation, be it before or after independence.”

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