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VICE President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s decision to give an unusually extensive and no-holds-barred interview to the London based NewAfrican Magazine seems to have backfired after he appeared to sully the legacies of country’s liberation icons.
The normally reserved Mnangagwa opened up in extravagant and some may say – careless fashion – during the interview as he reportedly characterised former nationalists Joshua Nkomo, Ndabaningi Sithole and others as “sell-outs”.
Mnangagwa said Rhodesian leader Ian Smith had told then incoming Prime Minister Robert Mugabe that Nkomo, Sithole lost the independence elections because they were working to protect white interests.
Nkomo’s supporters and Zanu PF hawks opposed to Mnangagwa’s quest to succeed President Robert Mugabe have taken umbrage at the remarks and are using them to berate the country’s number two, projecting him as a tribalist and not fit to rule.
Among those who have expressed concern are ministers Jonathan Moyo and Simon Khaya Moyo while the opposition has also lambasted Mnangagwa.
Sithole’s family joined the fray Wednesday, calling on the country’s leaders to respect all nationalists.
The late Sithole was the first Zanu national chairman in 1963 before he was deposed “in a coup” by Mugabe at the height of the liberation struggle.
Mugabe refused to have Sithole buried at the national heroes’ acre. The Zanu PF leader has consistently claimed that Sithole sold out during the struggle.
But in a statement Wednesday, his family said it took exception to Mnangagwa’s attempt to portray Sithole as a sell-out.
“As the family of the late Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, we feel that it is important for Zimbabweans to appreciate and acknowledge that people may have differing accounts on how the liberation struggle was waged and what could have been done better or what was not done at all.
“Further, we feel that it is even more important that all Zimbabweans appreciate and acknowledge the roles played by many nationalists still with us and those gone.
“Countless nationalists fought for an independent Zimbabwe, and so the legacy left (or to be left) by these nationalists, we are adamant should be shared amongst us all as patriotic Zimbabweans.
Besides being a cleric, Sithole was a renowned and prolific writer and his family argued that, through his books, Zimbabweans have a chance to gain insights into his thoughts.
“Fortunately, for Zimbabweans alive today and those to be born in the future, the late Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole bequeathed our great nation with the opportunity to share his legacy through the many books which chronicled his accounts on various topics”.
The family added: “We plead with our leaders to never forget our country’s foundation that ‘we were, we are, and shall always be are our own liberators!
“For the purposes of future generations to be born of Zimbabwean descendants, we plead with our leaders not to never waver from the ideology that bound all nationalists together (be they Zezuru, Ndebele, Karanga, Ndau, Manyika, Kalanga, Tonga etc or ZAPU, ZANU, FROLIZI etc) to fight for our independence …
“ and to focus on unity of purpose so that the Zimbabwe our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are bequeathed with is a Zimbabwe where legacies are shared and where being Zimbabwean equates to being united to build on the very solid foundations that the fight for our armed liberation struggle was premised on!” source-newzimbabwe
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