HARARE – Zanu PF’s decision to deny nationalist Mukudzei Mudzi national hero status is “historical amnesia” and a “shame”, political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said on Tuesday.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on Monday that Mudzi, who died on Saturday aged 94, would be accorded a “state assisted funeral” after his Zanu PF party’s Politburo snubbed him for the honour typically reserved for leading veterans of the 1970s war of independence from colonial rule.
War veterans chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa had led a campaign for Mudzi to be accorded the honour, but Mnangagwa referenced what he described as “disagreements with the Zanla leadership in the late 1970s” which split opinion when Politburo members were canvassed.
“I think it’s a shame that he has been denied a status, for whatever it’s worth given the devaluation of it over the years. Under the Mugabe/Mnangagwa/Chiwenga regime it has been so selectively accorded others including lesser nationalists than Mukudzei Mudzi,” said Mandaza, a political scientist and executive chairman of the Southern African Political Economic Series (Sapes) Trust.
Until his death, Mudzi and former Zanu PF Politburo member and minister Rugare Gumbo were the two surviving members of the Dare ReChimurenga, the Zanla war council which was constituted to execute the liberation struggle.
Dare ReChimurenga was headed by the late Zanu chairman Herbert Chitepo, with Mudzi as secretary for administration.
Other members were Henry Hamadziripi as treasurer, Gumbo as publicity and information secretary, Noel Mukono as secretary for defence, and the late Kumbirai Kangai.
Just before independence in 1980, Mudzi, Gumbo and Hamadziripi were part of a rebellion against the promotion of Robert Mugabe to Zanu leader. Mugabe would go on to become the first Prime Minister of independent Zimbabwe.
Said Mandaza: “Not to even acknowledge him as one who played such a vital role in the liberation of Zimbabwe, notwithstanding the controversies surrounding both the Chitepo murder and the attempted coup in Zanu in 1978 is a shame.
“It’s sad to see a political leadership so immersed in historical amnesia. It borders on stupidity.”