From right...Major General Trust Mugoba discussing with Brigadier General Grey Mashava (centre) who is brother to the deceased and Brigadier General Tshuma
CHIREDZI – Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander, General Constantino Guvheya Chiwenga last week sent messages of condolences to the family of the late Headman Gezani, born Amos Chauke, saying if it were up to ZDF, the headman would have been declared a national hero.
Gen Chiwenga was represented at the funeral by Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Chief of Staff, Major-General Trust Mugoba who spoke with reference to the role reportedly played by Headman Gezani during the liberation struggle when his father was brutalised by Rhodesian security forces.
"I have been sent here by the Defence Forces Commander General Chiwenga……he failed to attend this burial because he was committed at the burial of Godfrey Chidyausiku at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
"General Chiwenga is saddened by the headman's death because that's where he was kept during the Chimurenga time. We usually honour fake heroes, those who don't even deserve the honour while leaving those who deserve.
"If we had power of declaration, we would have declared Headman Gezani a hero. I think the media will cascade this message," Mjr Gen Mugoba said.
The observation confirms wide-spread views that the National Heroes Acre is a place of rest not only for genuine heroes but other dubious characters too.
It also dovetails with accusations that the national hero selection criteria, which is a prerogative of President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, is biased and in need of democratisation as other deserving personalities were unjustly denied a chance to be interred there.
Recently, Rugare Gumbo and some war veterans were outraged by the denial of Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe of heroes status despite what they said was his sterling contribution during the liberation struggle and thereafter.
"I strongly believe that he (Mutambanengwe) deserves to be declared a hero. There are so many people who are there who do not deserve to be there and hopefully, future governemnts will exhume them and bury those who truly deserve that status," Gumbo was this week quoted by a private daily as saying.
Chauke (79) died a natural death on the May 5, leaving three widows and 15 children. He was born in 1938 and was installed as substantive headman on October 26, 1998.
The burial was also attended by senior government officials including the District Administrator (DA) Ndeya Nyede who was the guest speaker.
Nyede encouraged the family to organise themselves and follow their lineage as they look ahead to appoint their next headman.
"I encourage the family to follow a clear and proper lineage as you have a mammoth task to choose your interim headman. It is not the DA's duty to appoint the next leader, we only oversee the safety of our chiefs," said Nyede.topnews