HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government will officially confer national hero’s status on late pioneering nationalist Ndabaningi Sithole in Chipinge Saturday in what critics view as an election gimmick by the Zimbabwe incumbent.
Sithole, who was founding Zanu leader and a cleric, died in December 2000 in the US.
He was denied hero status by late ex-President Robert Mugabe following grudges the latter carried against him dating back to the liberation struggle in the 1970s.
The former Chipinge lawmaker was last year posthumously conferred with national hero status by Mnangagwa.
In a statement Thursday, the home affairs ministry said, “Saturday, June 10th, has been set aside as the Conferment of National Hero Status Ceremony for the Late Rev Ndabaningi Chandiwana Sithole.”
Sithole was regarded as an unsung hero of the country’s liberation from colonial rule following years of persecution by Mugabe.
He still commands a strong sentiment in his former Ndau enclave in Chipinge.
Added the ministry, “Official conferment of national hero status ceremony and laying of wreaths on the grave of the late REV Ndabaningi Chandiwana Sithole on Saturday, June 10, 2023, at Freedom Farm. MT Selinda,Manicaland Province,” said the ministry.
The main event, according to the ministry, will take place at Emerald Hill School in Mt. Selinda, Chipinge District and would be open to the public.
A private church service led by the United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe (UCCZ), Sithole’s former church, shall be held at the family homestead, where only the guest of honour, senior government officials, party officials, and a few invited guests will attend this ceremony, the ministry said.