The late liberation war hero Dumiso Dabengwa told his comrades that after his demise, he did not want to be buried at the National Heroes Acre.
This was revealed by ZAPU acting president Isaac Mabuka during a press briefing in Bulawayo following Dabengwa’s death in Kenya on Thursday. Said Mabuka:
He was explicitly not to go to Heroes Acre [sic]. He used to say he will prefer to be buried at his family‘s heroes acre in Ntabazinduna than to be buried at the Heroes Acre.
These were the sentiments which he used to tell us as Zapu. We cannot mince our words on this one.
As a second fall-back, we would rather prefer Lady Stanley Cemetery where his friends are buried.
Whether Zanu PF declares him a hero or not, he is a hero. He does not have to be declared by anyone to be a hero.
ZAPU secretary for finance Mark Mbaiwa corroborated Mabuka’s sentiments. He said:
One day when we were burying his sister in Ntabazinduna, he told me that he wanted to be buried next to his sister, mother and father.
He was definitely not keen to be buried at the national shrine. However, his family has got the final say on this issue but as Zapu, we are guided by his wishes.
The selection of national heroes to be buried at the Heroes Acres has for some time been a controversial issue.
Some analysts argue that ZANU PF/ZANLA cadres easily find their way to the “shrine” while ZAPU/ZIPRA cadres are routinely overlooked.
The likes Thenjiwe Lesabe, Lookout Masuku and Swazini Ndlovu were all denied National Hero status while it is beyond doubt that they contributed immensely towards the country’s emancipation from colonial bondage.