Former Zanu PF youth league political commissar Godfrey Tsenengamu has said Wereki Sandiyani, the late national hero and one of the pioneers of the liberation struggle, lived in abject poverty.
Tsenengamu made the remarks on Facebook while commenting on Sandiyani’s burial at the Heroes Acre Saturday.
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Tsenengamu who now leads the recently formed party said Zanu PF’s decision to accord him national hero status was hypocritical considering the party did less to help her when he was still alive. He said:
At some point, he could not afford to pay for his medication and we tried to assist individually. He died a pauper in Mt Darwin only to be declared a national hero.
The thousands being splashed to bury him could have assisted him to access basic healthcare. He lived in abject poverty.
Sandiyani, alias Phillimon Gabela, succumbed to prostate cancer at Mt. Darwin District Hospital on 25 September, aged 66.
He had both his legs removed in 1975 by Rhodesian forces who paraded him to the public to instil fear.
Sandiyani was then jailed, only to be released by late President Robert Mugabe at Independence.
Responding to Tsenengamu, Zanu PF deputy secretary for youths Tendai Chirau, claimed the party had done enough for him through his compensation and a plot, offered to him during the land reform programme.
But Tsenengamu shot back suggesting the said compensation was not enough adding “If you had seen the kind of life he was living you would not be saying any of this.”
The veterans of the 1970s war were in 1997 given Z$50 000 in gratuities each by President Robert Mugabe’s government after embarking on a series of protests.
The unbudgeted payouts that amounted to $2 000 saw the Zimbabwe dollar losing its value by 70 per cent in one day and analysts say the move signalled Zimbabwe’s well documented economic collapse.
Nevertheless, the ageing veterans argue that the government was meant to have paid them Z$500 000 each in 1997 but up to date they have not received the balance.
Apart from money, they want mining concessions.