President Emmerson Mnangagwa has indicated that his goverment has bestowed National Hero status to General Mutshana Khumalo, a commander under King Lobengula’s army.
General Khumalo commanded the regiment which fought the Phupu battle near Shangani in Matabeleland South and conquered the white settlers in that battle.
Speaking during a ZANU PF Midlands Provincial Coodinating Committee meeting in Gweru at the weekend, President Mnangagwa said the Second Republic was honouring such unheralded heroes to preserve the country’s history for future generations.
“Recently we honoured General Mutshana Khumalo. Cde Khumalo commanded the unit which fought Allan Wilson who was after King Lobengula’s life. When they arrived in Shangani, King Lobengula unleashed this military unit, which was led by Cde Khumalo and they won the battle. So, this year the Second Republic granted Gen Mutshana a national hero status, this is what we are doing,” he said.
The President said this was the trend even in the First World, where they honour their former presidents as heroes and Zimbabwe was following suit, by immortalising it’s heroes and heroines through statues and other honours.
“If you go to America, they honour their past presidents with their statues, if you go to the United Kingdom, they honour their heroes, the same with France and the rest of the world, they honour their heroes and commanders,” said the President.
He added that Government was also moving on with erecting the statue of Mbuya Nehanda despite criticism from the outside world, opposition parties and some local churches.
“So we are putting a statue for Mbuya Nehanda and we are named pagans. No, we will do it even if they criticise us, she was a revolutionary. There are churches which criticise us for building Mbuya Nehanda’s statue but we have never heard them saying we should remove David Livingstone’s statue in Victoria Falls. We also erected Cde (Joshua) Nkomo’s statue in Bulawayo because he is our hero. We have many heroes we should honour for the good of our history and generations to come,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the statue of the late colonialist, Cecil John Rhodes was well preserved but Zimbabweans were failing to preserve that of King Mzilikazi, the local hero.
“If you go to the late Cecil John Rhodes’ grave there is a mint road leading to that grave but we have no road that leads us to where King Mzilikazi is interred. This is what we are correcting as the Second Republic, we will construct this road so that its clear about who we are, said the President.
The Head of State and Government said there were, however, some bent on dividing people by trying to introduce kingdoms in Zimbabwe.
He said Zimbabwe was a unitary republic and there was no way there could be kingdoms.
“Zimbabwe is a republic, there were some who wanted to resuscitate a kingdom in Matabeleland and I said no, we can’t have a kingdom in Zimbabwe that is why we have the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Eswatini, Zimbabwe is a Republic, there can not be a king, we can only have chiefs and headmen,” he said.
The President said he recently received a letter from some descendants of the Rozvi state who asked for the establishment of a Rozvi kingdom.
“I got a letter on Wednesday from the grandson of King Lobengula, thanking us that we honoured their grandfather Mutshana Khumalo and this is what we want. He did not say he wanted to be a king. I also received letters from someone in Hwedza a Rozvi descendent, he said in the letter that he wanted a Rozvi kingdom but I did not even reply.
“There is no kingdom here, its a republic. We have chiefs not a kingdom so where ever you sit and meet as chiefs, talk of chieftainship not kingdom,” said the President.