By Jane Mlambo| President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has announced its intention to officially confer national hero status on the late pioneering nationalist Ndabaningi Sithole in Chipinge on Saturday.
Ndabaningi Sithole, who served as the founding Zanu leader and was also a clergyman, passed away in the United States in December 2000.
During his lifetime, he was denied hero status by the late former President Robert Mugabe due to historical animosity stemming from the liberation struggle in the 1970s.
However, last year, Mnangagwa posthumously conferred national hero status on Sithole, a former lawmaker from Chipinge. The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a statement on Thursday announcing the Conferment of National Hero Status Ceremony for the late Reverend Ndabaningi Chandiwana Sithole, scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 10th.
Sithole is recognized as an unacknowledged hero of Zimbabwe’s liberation from colonial rule, having faced persecution from Mugabe over the years. His legacy still holds great significance in his former Ndau enclave in Chipinge.
The ministry further revealed that the main event would be held at Emerald Hill School in Mt. Selinda, Chipinge District, and would be open to the public.
Additionally, a private church service, led by the United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe (UCCZ), Sithole’s former church, will be conducted at the family homestead.
This particular service will be attended by the guest of honor, senior government officials, party officials, and a limited number of invited guests.
The move to confer hero status on Sithole has sparked debates, with critics arguing that it is a strategic maneuver by Mnangagwa’s government to gain political favor during the election season.