Dabengwa to be declared national hero

 Dabengwa to be declared national hero
Published: 25 May 2019 (267 Views)
VETERAN liberation war icon Dumiso Dabengwa, who succumbed to a liver-related ailment on Thursday, is likely to be declared a national hero. Though the Zapu leader's disaffection with the ruling party is a matter of public record, sources told the Daily News yesterday that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the ruling party are not keen to cause a national uproar by denying the well-loved late liberation icon the national hero status.

Yesterday afternoon, the body of Dabengwa, who died on his way back home from India where he had sought treatment, was still in Nairobi, Kenya where family members, including his wife Zodwa, were busy trying to ensure that he gets repatriated back home for burial.

Acting Zapu president Isaac Mabuka told the Daily News yesterday that family members were handling the repatriation of the former Zipra commander's body. "It seems everything is going on well; it is the family that is currently handling everything at the moment. I have spoken to Jabu (Dabengwa's son) earlier on and he assured me that everything was going on well to ensure that DD is repatriated.

"Jabu said to me the body is likely to arrive tomorrow (today) at the earliest and hopefully I am sure by Sunday he will be here," Mabuka told the Daily News. He added: "With regards to any commitment coming from government, I am sure if any, the communication has been done through the family."

Mthulisi Hanana, director of the Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation, also indicated to the Daily News that the former Zipra intelligence supremo's body was likely to be in the country by Sunday.

Meanwhile, mourners were yesterday gathered at Dabengwa's house in Fourwinds where various politicians from across the political divide, residents and members of the civic society thronged to pay homage to the man whom many described as an undoubted national hero.

Government officials who included Local Government minister July Moyo, War vets deputy minister Victor Matemadanda and Provincial Affairs minister Judith Ncube were part of the mourners yesterday.
Tributes are continuing to pour in with some coming from the United States embassy, the Dutch Embassy and the European Union mission to Zimbabwe.

In the 1980s, Dabengwa was accused by the Mugabe government of hiding arms of war. This was used by the then Zimbabwean government as a pretext to authorise an army crackdown in western Zimbabwe that rights groups say killed more than 20 000 mostly minority Ndebele.

In 1983, Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku, the commander of Zipra, were charged with treason by Mugabe's government. They were acquitted by the courts but remained in detention until their release in 1986. Masuku, whose health deteriorated in detention, was released to a hospital ward where he died.

Joshua Nkomo later said Masuku's last wish to see Dabengwa had been rejected by the regime. Dabengwa would in later years say that Zapu's armed wing included members from South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC), which was fighting the apartheid government and that some of the cached arms belonged to ANC's military wing.

The 1982 to 1987 massacres have continued to haunt President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was Mugabe's security minister during the period. Mnangagwa last month said Zimbabweans should openly talk about the massacres, known as "Gukurahundi", as part of a national healing process.

Dabengwa became a government minister for eight years up to 2000 after Zapu merged with the ruling Zanu-PF.  After leaving government, Dabengwa became critical of Mugabe and Zanu-PF policies before leaving the party to revive Zapu in 2008.
In the run-up to the July 2018 presidential and parliamentary vote,

Dabengwa openly supported opposition leader Nelson Chamisa's bid for the presidency.

- dailynews

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