Thenjiwe Lesabe denied heroes status by Irene Madongo 15 February 2011

ZANU PF has come out and shown its bias on the conferring of national heroes status, by announcing that the late Thenjiwe Lesabe will not be buried at the National Heroes Acre, because she was not a member of the party.

Lesabe (79) was a veteran in Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle and died last Friday of natural causes. She was a former ZANU PF politburo member and also served as a Cabinet Minister. She defected to ZAPU two years ago.

Although the conferring of Heroes status should be a national issue, ZANU PF has over the years made Heroes Acre a place where only its members are buried, much to the anger of many Zimbabweans.

On Monday, Didymus Mutasa, ZANU PF’s Secretary for Administration

Said; “After all the party consultations, Cde Lesabe was not declared a national heroine since she did not end her tenure in ZANU PF after leaving to join the Dumiso Dabengwa-led ZAPU.”

Mutasa also said that although Lesabe was not declared a national heroine, she will receive a state-assisted funeral.

But even before ZANU PF’s statement, the Lesabe family had said it did not want her to be buried at Heroes Acre, as this was against her wishes.

SW Radio Africa’s Bulawayo correspondent, Lionel Saungweme, said ZANU PF’s announcement was to save them from the embarrassment of being publicly snubbed, in case they tried to declare her a hero.

Last year former Matabeleland North Governor, Welshman Mabhena, snubbed being declared a hero, after leaving similar instructions as Lesabe. He chose to be buried in Bulawayo instead.

Political analysts have said that these rejections of hero status show that the honour and credibility which was once attached to it, is now completely gone.