Govt pisses on the graves over Mugabe

Govt pisses on the graves over Mugabe
Published: 17 September 2019 (355 Views)
I was recently at the Harare Provincial Heroes Acre to put flowers on the grave of one of my relatives and what I saw shocked me. There was a half drunk middle aged gentleman casually urinating on the edge of one of the graves of the provincial heroes. I still remember the name engraved on the grave. The headstone had the hero's official name, and her guerrilla name, "Cde Mabhunu Muchapera".

I am not sure why I was that shocked by the sight of a random man urinating on the grave of Cde Mabhunu Muchapera. I mean, the so called Provincial shrine doesn't even have a perimeter fence or wall! You don't actually know you have arrived at the acre until you see a row of graves and a small, half built building which I guessed was meant to be a toilet. Half the graves are just mounds of gravel, nestled between what appear to be abandoned maize fields. Most have no headstone, no dignity, no honour! In fact, the Harare Provincial shrine is so neglected that senior army officers pushed for the ZDF to have a part of Glen Forest Cemetery allocated to them. I dare anyone out there to dispute this.

In writing this short article I don't intend to get into debates about the unfair way in which hero statuses are currently decided. Similarly, I don't want to debate whether the late Robert Mugabe deserves National Hero status or not. I do however, want to raise a few points.

First, we all know that while the ZANLA and ZPRA High Command and ZANU and ZAPU political leadership provided critical strategic and logistical support from the rear of the war front, it is the Section, Detachment, Platoon Commanders and their troops who actually prosecuted the war. This is established fact. In the main, these are the heroes found at Provincial and District Heroes acres across the country.

Second, the Second Chimurenga was in theory anchored not only on the desire to create a more egalitarian society but equity in the prosecution of armed struggle was of fundamental importance. Have you ever wondered what that song the military and police bands play at the burial of national heroes actual is about? The song is called "Nzira dzemasoja", and ZANLA adapted it from Chairman Mao's military doctrine which focused on respect for people, particularly the ordinary people and peasants who contributed to the war effort. The following is an extract, "Kune nzira dzemasoja dzekuzvibata nadzo//Tererai mitemo yose nenzira dzakanaka//Bhadharai zvamunotenga nenzira dzakanaka//Mudzorere zvinhu zvose zvamunenge matora"

Given the current state of Provincial and District Heroes Acres, the decision to spend millions of tax payer's money on a monument for the late former president is utterly embarrassing. It shows how far the current leadership has veered from Nzira dzemasoja. It shows the contempt with which the country's current political leaders have always had not only for the povo but for ZANLA and ZIPRA section, detachment, platoon commanders and all other infantry fighters.

What are possible immediate steps the government could take to start saving face? First, they should erect perimeter walls around all Provincial and District Heroes Acres. This is not a costly request, given that Robert Mugabe's mausoleum will probably cost north of a million American dollars to complete. Second, government should build decent gate entrances – just to give the places a sense of presence and dignity. Adding ablution facilities is something which should have already been done before the first heroes were laid to rest at these shrines!

In the medium to long run, debate around how hero status is decided will need to be encouraged and a more balanced approach will have to be established. National, Provincial and District Heroes Acres should be places that all Zimbabweans are proud of and which reflect the diversity of the contributions made by Zimbabweans from all walks of life.

To President ED Mnangagwa, musa kanganwe Nzira dzemasoja!


- Zororo Shumba, Pretoria, South Africa.

 

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