You are here:Home>National Assembly Hansard>Vol. 37>NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 14 JUNE 2011 VOL. 37 NO. 34

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 14 JUNE 2011 VOL. 37 NO. 34

Tuesday, 14th June, 2011

The House of Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o'clock p.m.

 

PRAYERS

(THE DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE DEPUTY SPEAKER

APPOINTMENT TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEES

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that hon. Muchinguri has been appointed to serve on the Portfolio Committee on Education, Arts, Sports and Culture and the Public Accounts Committee.

EVENTS FOR THE ZIMBABWE WOMEN'S CAUCUS

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that members of the Zimbabwe Women's Caucus are being invited to attend the following events:

i) A showcase at the 7 Arts Theatre on Friday 17th June, 2011 at 1800 hours, organised by KATWE' Sisterhood.

ii) Gender Sensitisation Workshop on Engendering the Constitution Making Process at Mont Clair Nyanga from 19 - 21 June, 2011. The bus leaves Parliament building at 0930 hours on the 19th of June, 2011.

(iii) Meeting the Africa Region Advisor from the World Bank, Mrs Elizabeth Lule tomorrow, 15th June, 2011 at 1000 hours in the Government Caucus.

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to remind honourable members to switch off their cellphones before business commences as the cellphones may interfere with the digital recording equipment.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th June, 2011.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 2 to 5 be stood over until the rest of the Orders have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF CDE WELSHMAN HADANE MABHENA

MR. R. MOYO: I move the motion standing in my name that:

This House expresses its profound sorrow on the sudden and untimely death on Monday 24th October 2010 of former Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Matabeleland North Governor and Resident Minister Cde Welshman Hadane Mabhena;

PLACES on record its deepest and sincere appreciation of the sterling services the late former Member of Parliament rendered to Zimbabwe;

RESOLVES THAT its deepest and heartfelt sympathies be conveyed to the Mabhena family.

MR. MUDZURI: I second.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Honourable members, always remember to switch on the microphones whenever you speak.

MR. R. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me this opportunity to pay my heartfelt condolences and that of many other honourable members by way of a motion on the death of our hero, Cde Welshman Hadane Mabhena. The late Cde Welshman Hadane Mabhena was born in Inyathi

area of Matabeleland North, 60 km to the north of Bulawayo city. During his early life, the late Hon. Mabhena was a Music teacher at Nyathi Mission which was run by the London Mission Society. He was a devout Christian who never wavered from the principles and belief in Christianity. He was a full member of the United Congregation Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA).

Hon. Mabhena's political career dates back to his early childhood days at Nyathi where he was brought up and came into contact with the influence of missionaries. Having grown up under the cruel colonial regime, the late Welshman Mabhena's family was evicted from Nyathi to pave way for the white settlement in the area as the white men's commercial activities took centre stage in the district. His family was resettled further north in the Nkayi District where they settled in the Zinyangeni area which was designated an E.A.1 zone meaning, European Area 1, occupied by a few members of the white community from the London Mission Society. This did not deter the gallant son of the soil to establish his career as a formidable politician. In this regard, the late Hon. Mabhena worked closely with other fearless cadres such as the likes of the late Sikhwili Kholi Moyo, Lakatshona Ndebele, John Malunzo "JM" Ndlovu, Stoney Nkomazana, Dr. Isaac Mswelaboya Sibanda to mention just a few. I will not delve into details about what he did during that time as a political activist because that requires a book on its own. Suffice to say because of his political activities, fearlessness, determination, gallantry, vision, diligence, inspiration, leadership qualities, resolution, shear resilience and unparalleled wisdom, the late Mabhena was incarcerated and restricted to Gonakudzingwa, the notorious and infamous prison for the distinguished and selflessly dedicated activists of that time. He was to remain in prison right up to the time we got our independence. Cde Mabhena ranks among the longest serving political activist detainees under the Smith regime. Such incarceration failed to break him and his spirit. Instead it hardened him into a "concrete" as he became more determined than ever to bring about the liberation of Zimbabwe.

After his release from prison, Welshman Mabhena who had not been intimidated, cowed and subdued by the colonial regime, emerged a much more resolute, resilient and diehard politician who had matured and like old wine, grown better with age. He was appointed member of Parliament on a PF ZAPU ticket following the death of late Vice President of PF ZAPU the gallant Josiah Chinamano in 1983.

Welshman Mabhena was such a formidable politician, a leader par excellence, a hero, liberator, fighter, team player, role model, father figure, veteran, politician and a man of all seasons. This did not go down well with his adversaries in the other political parties of the time who were vying for political control of the Nkayi Constituency. As a result he was harassed, humiliated, threatened with death, arrested, intimidated and insulted. He was branded a dissident. His mother's grave was doused with petrol and set alight in 1984 by the so called people's militia while his Zinyangeni homestead was set alight and razed to the ground. The last vandalism of the worst order on the Mabhena homestead was carried out by ZAPU's erstwhile allies in the armed struggle for the liberation of Zimbabwe who were none other than the ZANU PF under the leadership if the notorious youth leader by the name "Kingie".

The whole Gukurahundi saga un-fold all its fangs and ferocity on Mabhena's Nkayi Constituency and victims emerged. Mabhena stood very firm with his electorate. The 1985 elections saw Mabhena thoroughly whip the then political pretender Samson Ndebele of ZANU PF by a whooping 30 000+ to a mere 700 votes. This was despite the purges that had taken place to rid Nkayi of PF ZAPU as a political party. The results were disastrous and a lesson for ZANU PF. The lesson was that force does not win you support, instead it creates enemies, and real enemies for that party.

After the Unity Accord, Mabhena became the first Deputy Speaker of Parliament from the former PF ZAPU. He did not last long in that post as he was soon appointed as a Minister of Sate before becoming Governor and Resident Minister for Matabeleland North. His transparency, fearlessness, daredevil attitude and never say die spirit landed him in problems with all those who did not like open criticism. He spoke openly about how Matabeleland Region was marginalised. Those retrogressive and primitive forces of negation saw in Mabhena a tribalist and they branded him so. Cde Mabhena was never a tribalist. He raised issues as he saw them and was very open about them unlike those who fly by night and pretend to be good by day. Shame on them! He was the voice of the voiceless, a fearless cadre who championed the causes and interest of minorities in the country. He did not escape the unforgiving wrath of those who fear to be told the truth. They were very many and continue to grow by day until his death.

Regrettably, the late Mabhena did not get the recognition that he deserved because of his outspokenness. He fell out of favour very unceremoniously and those who sat in this august House will recall how badly and unfairly he was treated by being allowed to attend a swearing in ceremony for honourable members only to be told right inside this august Chamber that he was no longer Governor and could therefore not be sworn in.

It is from such acrimonious incidents, the post independence humiliations and retribution that the late Cde Mabhena chose, and rightly so, not to be buried at the National Heroe's Shrine, despite being recognised and accorded hero status. Mabhena did a lot of good for this nation. It would therefore be improper for the nation not to realise what he did for the nation. It would therefore be most fitting at least to honour him by naming the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road as the Welshman Mabhena Highway.

It is unfortunate that as I speak, there are some people who do not even realise what was done by these heroes because as they sit here, they are enjoying some of the privileges that were accrued because of the sweat of Cde Mabhena. Such unfortunate incidents have always continued and they will continue to happen in this country. It is saddening that as I speak, we have had another hero that has passed on, may his soul rest in peace. Madam Speaker, it is saddening that those who come from the West part of this country will continue to echo the sentiments of Cde Mabhena, to say what actually describes a hero, how do we then describe persistence and inconsistency, if some that have not been so consistent are given a waiver and some are not.

Madam Speaker, I look at the case of the late T. Lesabe, what crime had she committed not to deserve to be buried where others are buried or to be offered what others have been offered? Is it because she had joined ZAPU that has resurrected? What is her real crime or is it because she is a Khumalo, a person who speaks Ndebele - [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible intejections] -I know that as I speak, some will allude to me as a tribalist but I am talking about my rights as a minority of this country.

It is is very, very, unfortunate that we call some things national yet they are not so national, yet we do not contribute in anyway or whatever form. We need the recognition, equity and transparency when such things are accorded and for everybody to be recognised in that regard. For people like Cde Mabhena, Cde Tekere who fought fearlessly for this country did not imagine and think that they ever thought that one day they will be opposing or fighting against their own comrades or be exploited by the very Comrades that were in their twenties. It is unfortunate that those who turn to look at it as a mere incident, it is unfortunate that history usually repeats itself, today might be them, tomorrow it might be you. Thank you Madam Speaker.

MR. H. MUDZURI: Thank you Madam Speaker - [HON GUMBO: Unomuzivirepi iwe?] - I would like to add my voice to the motion under discussion. Many would ask like what honourable Gumbo was saying, how can you stand up and speak, do you know him? Yes I know him because he has a national status. He is a man who did things for our nation. Why do nations confer heroes' status to some of its citizens - that is what we should interrogate here. It is because of the services that citizens would have done to the nation, so in reciprocity, the nation will be saying thank you for what you have done for us. From what the mover of the motion has said, we can deduce that Cde Mabhena sacrificed a lot for this nation. Cde Mabhena was consistent in whatever he did. I am going to explain consistency and the sacrifice, he was fearless. To be a hero, it is not about the battles of life that you fought, it is about the life of battles that you lead for your nation - [Laughter] - From the history of Comrade Mabhena, we now know that you do not need to belong to a certain party or to come from a certain region to become a hero, but you need to do things that are outstanding for the nation, we learnt that from Comrade Mabhena's life. We have already learnt that it is not about where you are buried to be a national hero, you can be a hero wherever you are. Madam Speaker, we now know that he sacrificed his life comfort of living with his family to be a hero.

MR. MATONGA: On a point of order, I think the hon. member is misleading the House when he says Comrade Mabhena was not declared a national hero -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible Interjections] -

MR. H. MUDZURI: Thank you Madam Speaker, we have also learnt that he was fearless, he was not afraid of even being incarcerated, he was not afraid of being sidelined, he was not afraid of losing favours from those who might say, if you do not tow my line, no favours will come your way. From the story of Comrade Mabhena, we have learnt that he was consistent in that his principles never changed before independence and after independence. He fought for people's freedom and good living. Before independence and after independence when this freedom was under threat, he was prepared to fight for it again.

So, it is not that you are a hero because you made sacrifice only before independence, that is where I can say even after independence, he was consistent in remaining principled, he never changed. He was prepared to fight oppression wherever and whenever he met it.

From the story of Comrade Mabhena, we also learnt that a life of a hero sometimes is a life of tragedy. His way of life, he died in a state that we would not wish our heroes to die in, we would not wish those living heroes to die in that state. A lesson that we may draw from that is, our heroes, those who have done something outstanding for the nation, the nation should go out of its way to make sure they have a good living, not after their death when you declare them a hero, you begin to praise honours on those who have died but you ignored them when they were alive. Thank you Madam Speaker.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE DEPUTY SPEAKER

VISITORS IN THE SPEAKER'S GALLERY

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to recognise the presence in the Speaker's Gallery, of students from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa who are currently on a study tour of Zimbabwe. You are most welcome.

MR. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. It is my national duty to stand up and talk about Comrade Mabhena. A man who was declared a national hero for his heroic contribution for the struggle of the people of Zimbabwe and Africa in general.

Madam Speaker, when we talk about heroes, we do not manufacture heroes, heroes are born and they have a heroic contribution to a particular struggle. Comrade Mabhena was born a hero and he continued to contribute in a heroic manner. He was detained by the Smith Regime but that never changed his desire to see a free Zimbabwe. At the beginning of our struggle, we used to hear songs like tsuro tsuro we ndapera basa, Soldier raNkomo sunga wutare kana ndozofa sara uine nhaka. It showed that there was consistence, if I die tomorrow, my dear brother you are a great soldier you take the struggle forward this is the foundation of our struggle. This is the foundation of our revolution, it is not a revolution of cowards but a revolution of heroes - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible Interjections] -when you stand up to talk about heroes like Mabhena, you are contributing to a man with a heroic contribution, a man of real tenacity. When you talk of Mabhena, you think of a man like Nkwame Nkurumah, Patrice Lumumba, Julias Mwalimu Nyerere, Josiah MagamaTongogara. This is what the new generation of new leaders must aspire to be, heroes are not selfish. Comrade Mabhena, at independence, was a member of ZAPU but Madam Speaker, I want to make the record straight on ZAPU. ZAPU was not a regional grouping, it had 80% leadership from Mashonaland Region. There are some people at this stage who want to take ownership of ZAPU, it happens in a revolution that there are people who do things for their own benefit but as we move forward, you would see that ZAPU had a cross-section of people. We had Chibwechitedza Joshua Nkomo as the President and immediately after him Josiah Mukanya, mwana waPfumojena Chinamano as the Vice President. It was a criss-cross section of all the tribal groupings of Zimbabwe. It was only unfortunate that we have politicians who have no desire and lack the ability to mobilise people, who then go down and start to mobilise people on tribal lines. It is shortcoming because tribalism is a creation of colonialists and imperialists. Tribalism is a creation of people who want to see Africa divided.

There is no way you can talk of Mashonaland region because you have Matoko, Korekore and there is no way you can talk of Manicaland because you have Machangani, Mandau and Maungwe and you also have whites like Bennet. It is unfortunate that with the education that Zimbabwe has, standing at 98%, you still see a man standing up wanting to be demanding that there is a particular tribe. When I see the Deputy Chief Whip, I see her as a beautiful girl, I do not see her as a Ndebele - [Laughter] -

What I see in her is beauty and her victory in the election. What I see in her is a leader and this is what we must do.

MR. MKHOSI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. Can the hon. member withdraw his statement that he refers to the Deputy Chief Whip as 'a girl'.

MR. MUDARIKWA: I said I see her beauty -[Laughter]-

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order hon. members. Hon. Mkhosi I did not get your point of order.

MR. MKHOSI: My point is, I kindly ask the hon. member to withdraw the term 'girl' when referring to the Deputy Chief Whip?

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. member, if you said that can you kindly withdraw, she is not a girl, she is an hon. member of this House?

MR. MUDARIKWA: Madam Speaker, thank you very much. I withdraw and also I want to thank the hon. member for it shows that he is listening to what I am saying. -[ Laughter]-

Mr. Mabhena was part of the team that negotiated the Unity Agreement between PF ZAPU and ZANU PF. In the negotiations, Mabhena never behaved in a greedy way. He agreed to contribute to the development of this nation. They never even needed to go to Kariba to negotiate. They negotiated in this august House. They never needed to go to Sandton to negotiate. They never needed to set up JOMIC to negotiate. They felt it was necessary that as Zimbabweans, we must unite and work together as a team. Mr. Mabhena was a developer. I had a chance to work with Mr. Mabhena in the Ministry of Political Affairs after 1987.

If you look at the economic growth of Zimbabwe, we had the best economic growth figures in 1987/1988, showing that economy develops where there is peace, love and where there is no discord. Mr. Mabhena came, he conquered, he developed this country - great men, like torches, always shine the world around them but Cde Mabhena was very unfortunate like any of you hon members, to be employed by the Parliament of Zimbabwe. It is the worst employer in the whole world. To be employed by this august House, you are honourable but you are very poor. You have no pension. They want you to come back after 10 years, that is when they will give you your pension. It means you have to go and contest 3 elections to come in and earn your pension. You have no medical aid. You have no funeral/death policy - [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. members order please, I will name and shame you. If you want to talk about that, move another motion. Hon Mudarikwa, can you stick to the motion.

MR. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. As a professional communicator and a master of ceremony of international repute, I felt I needed to explain because the other hon. member raised a point that Mr. Mabhena died a very poor man. So I am explaining that …

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member talk to your motion please and do not explain whatever you want to explain.

MR. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker, as we sit in this august House, hon. members, comrades and friends and all those people who have a chance to read what I am saying now, Zimbabwe belongs to the people of Zimbabwe. It is our duty, it is our national responsibility to show love to each other. As a nation we can never develop in an antagonistic society where we want to hold each other's throat.

This is an august House where we have hon. members, who should behave honourably. I would want to appeal to Parliament and to the relevant ministry, I see hon. Minister Nhema is here; most of our freedom fighters were detained in places like Gonakudzingwa where wildlife as used to take care of them. We must develop Gonakudzingwa and all those detaining centres so that our people can appreciate the value and contribution our heroes made. Comrades and friends, we are Zimbabweans, we do not belong to any tribe. I thank you.

MR. MNKANDLA: Thank you Madam Speaker for according me this opportunity to contribute to this motion of one of the greatest sons of Zimbabwe that has ever been produced by this country, who did not need men and women to deliberate on his status, his works and declare him a national hero. I find it a little bit nauseating and degrading that some people will have to sit around a table and decide who is a hero and who is not and some of these people are cowards. Welshman Mabhena, I knew him personally. He was Secretary General of ZAPU and I heard somebody saying he was detained by the Smith regime and deliberately forgot to say he was detained after the post-independence era. He was very much disappointed by what was happening in this country, like all the real heroes. When the devil decided to visit that part of the country in the form of Gukurahundi, he was caught in that storm because as I am talking here, I was a victim of that.

I believe when Mabhena was declared a national hero, some people were not amused because they were ashamed of what they have done to him. It was not out of disrespect that the Mabhena family refused with his body. It was obvious to the Mabhena family that if they allowed his body to be transported to that Harare shrine it would belittle him. I believe that heroes must be honoured and they should not be private property of other characters, they should not be certain objects of certain men to be heroes. I believe people like Mabhena, when they went to war, they were fighting for the rights of each and every Zimbabwean. I feel very much honoured that I am talking about a man that I know in flesh and blood. I would like to encourage all of us to be real national heroes and not some of those fake and pseudo characters who are heroes through some imaginary creation. This country is not going anywhere if they maintain this way of according heroes status. I know when we speak the truth, the devil gets upset, there are some members who get extremely uncomfortable because it touches the raw nerve in their political life. To honourable Mabhena and all the gallant sons of this country. I say rest in eternal peace. I thank you.

MS. A. NDHLOVU: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Let me start by thanking the mover of the motion and on behalf of all born free Zimbabweans, I would like to extend my heart felt condolences to the Mabhena family.

Madam Speaker, it is due to the sacrifices by gallant sons like Mabhena and others that we were able to be born in a free, independent and sovereign Zimbabwe. It is common knowledge that the Smith regime never imagined that blacks could ever rule themselves let alone in a thousand years, but thanks to Mabhena and others, we are able to be in Parliament.

Madam Speaker, I would like to urge all Zimbabweans, especially born frees, that we need to live to the expectations of these gallant sons and daughters and ensure that Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. Mabhena and the rest of the heroes made it possible for all of us to be in this august House. The major reason that they went to war was for us to practice our democratic right - the right to vote and be voted for. Today born frees, women and the disabled are able to be in Parliament, thanks to Mabhena and others.

Let me, Madam Speaker, finish off by urging all Zimbabweans, including those especially from the other side and the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister that all of us have to ensure that everything that we do in our parties, in our constituencies, wherever we are, should live up to the expectations of the gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe like Mabhena, Mugariri, Mafuyana, Dr. Muzenda, Tekere and others. I thank you.

MR. F. M. SIBANDA: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, for allowing me to speak on this solemn motion. I would like to remind hon. members that when we talk about fallen heroes, it is a solemn area where people should think seriously about what they say.

In this respect Madam Speaker, I have discovered that there are two conflicting issues that I would call dichotomies - heroism versus confirmation or confirmation versus heroism. Heroes are self made. The living confirm hero status because you would have already worked for it. Somebody said "some leaders are born but some are made by man or by training". In this regard, I adore and applaud the mover of the motion because Mabhena - there are times when he suffered for the people, regardless of the truth. Heroism is by virtue of being gallant and brave.

In Biblical terms, we would call heroes, martyrs, people who die for their convictions, people who die for their resolutions and is a matter of seriousness when we talk of conferment of heroism. Hon. Mabhena was not declared a hero but he declared himself by what he did. The living people had to confer or confirm him. So I want to make it a point that other members of the society are made heroes because of certain attributes. These attributes are like integrity - being gallant, being brave, being honest to people, you are also anti-corrupt, you are against corruption; no connections and you stand and you speak your mind. In this review, Hon. Mabhena had those virtues that you stood for the truth though heavens fall.

I have spoken before in this House about what is a hero- it is contained in a very brief Act of Zimbabwe, the Heroes Act. It aims to accommodate and include others but in practice, it is not that way. I therefore believe the Act itself is noble but practically operationally, it is something that is amiss. I implore this House each member of this House, to ask the Secretariat of Parliament to give them a copy and read it critically and we would be persuaded to move a motion that it be amended here and there. It says for one to be declared a hero, a member should be consistent and persistent, it does not really show where persistence and consistence is - politically, economically or socially or sports-wise. So let us look at this Act so that this august House that brought history in this country should amend it so that when we leave this House, future generations will be proud of what we did to gallant people of Zimbabwe. The objective of this Heroes Act as I see it, is to confer heroes status to gallant people of Zimbabwe, not anybody or political party but of Zimbabwe and thereafter, to sustain their independence and after being declared, the Act goes further to say their dependence whenever they are under 18 years of age or are still at school or they are disabled, have to be sustained by the Government.

Alas Madam Speaker, I have done a research that 95% of the dependence of the heroes are not even recorded - not even known I have records that you would find Mayor Urimbo a hero and his two wives but the dependence thereafter, the children were not there. Josiah Magamba Tongogara as a hero, the widow is there but his off-springs or his kith and keen who are dependent on him are blocked out. So I am appealing to this House that when we declare a hero, it is not all on political grounds. We are seeing further than the grave.

The other issue - the intention of declaring other people. We have to unify Zimbabweans across the political divide. When one is conferred hero status the intention is to unify Zimbabweans. So if we do not do that we are sowing seeds of division. So, as Members of Parliament, let us also see how we can improve this Act. The other objective as I see it is to cement relationships and tolerance among the people of Zimbabwe. This is equality that should be recognised; that people of all colours, creed, religion, as long as they have excelled in one way or the other, should be recognised.

The other issue is to recognise the freedom fighters across political divide. What I am afraid of is that if Party (A) is the one responsible for conferring the hero's status, it makes people lethargic, it makes people angry. People will lose faith in the system regardless of the nobility of the Act. So, I urge people to remember Hon. Mabhena for his resilience, persistence, consistency, his involvement in politics, social life, religion and others.

The other issue that I wanted people to understand about Hon. Mabhena is that Hon. Mabhena was a teacher. Cde. Mabhena and Cde Mugabe were brothers, they met at Mbizi Primary School teaching together while some of my colleagues were at Chipembere. Hon. Mabhena was never a tribalistic, he spoke Ndebele, Shona and English fluently. I urge all Zimbabweans to emulate Hon. Mabhena and the new standards because we are above tribal lines, we speak English and Shona equally well. Hon. Mabhena was a hero of high standing because he was non-tribal. He even worked in Harare, most of his time he was in Harare. So this is what I call heroism in future and the past. I thank you.

MR. MATONGA: I would like to thank Hon. Moyo for bringing this debate about Hon. Mabhena. When we debate, it is as if we are saying that he was not declared a nation hero, he was declared a national hero. When he fought for the struggle of Zimbabwe, the fight was not about colour, creed or tribe, it was about equal opportunities. So when I debate this afternoon, I am debating to celebrate the opportunities that were provided by heroes. When you are declared a hero, it is not about a salary, it is truly voluntary work. So what you do after that when you achieve what you have been fighting for, then it becomes your own personal issue, you can then develop yourself. You do it for others, selflessly.

We celebrate the work done by the late Hon. Mabhena. The fact that now, Zimbabwe has got the highest literacy rate in Africa, is because of heroes who were not tribalists. When we debate and celebrate about heroes let us not forget that we are now empowered as blacks, as Zimbabweans because of them. We have got equal opportunities as Zimbabweans, black or white, Shona or Ndebele. We are here in this Parliament because of these heroes. There are those people who talk of ZAPU and the southern part, it is very unfortunate that we have people in this day and age who still feel that they are not equal with others. It is very unfortunate because, we were given equal opportunities to go to school. ZAPU, as hon. members have indicated, was a Party of blacks, Shonas, Ndebeles, even white people were in ZAPU, and then people branched to ZANU (PF) and another ZAPU, but still that ZAPU was a Party of all people.

The unity that we enjoy today was because of people like Mabhena. Yes, he spoke his mind like most of us here or all of us. He was fearless and that is what we should do. If you sit there and do not speak out, then it is your problem, you will not be declared a national hero or a provincial hero. So these are the opportunities that I think we need to celebrate. We need to take advantage of opportunities that have been created, opportunities in agriculture, education, opportunities everywhere. That is why we have got Zimbabweans all over the world. In South Africa, Zimbabweans are running the financial institutions and the hospitality industry and Zimbabweans are running NGOs all over the world. It is because of heroes like Hon. Mabhena.

I just want to thank hon. members that when we bring such issues - the issue of tribes is divisive, especially equal when we are given opportunities. I do not want to believe that anyone here is more equal than myself. If you still believe in that, then it is unfortunate. I am of Ndebele origin, I do not even feel that anyone is more equal than myself. If you do not stand up and be counted, then it is unfortunate. There are people who exploit the opportunities that were created by heroes for their own selfish benefit, I would not want anyone who forms a political party to go to Matabeleland and use people there to gain whatever they want to gain. It is high time people should stand up and say, I am not a minority, I am a majority. You are a majority, in an area that you belong to, so there is no minority, we are all equal and that is why those heroes fought together; that is why those heroes spent years and years in prison. If you commit a crime even if you are a self made hero, you will be arrested, sent to prison and you will be released and then given another opportunity to revive your life. So, heroes are detained, heroes are beaten up, heroes are not above the law.

MR. DUMBU: Thank you for allowing me to talk about this very great man with a history which is admired by many across the political divide. I personally know Cde. Mabhena as a liberator of this country among other historic liberators. I would not want to waste time talking about the greater history which is before 1980 because all he did is well documented. It would appear as though I will be taking that from an academic perspective. I will just begin at a point when the Independence Settlement was done at Lancaster. I will itemise events which Cde. Mabhena witnessed during his lifetime.

Hon. Mabhena witnessed the pre-1980 injustices that existed before independence in this country. He also was part of the key negotiators to the negotiations which led to the political independence of Zimbabwe in 1980. On a very painful note, in 1980, Cde. Mabhena witnessed the deliberate tribalisation of ZAPU by ZANU (PF) and this tribalisation programme began soon after the death of Josiah Magama Tongogara. I would like to support the previous hon. members who were talking about ZAPU having used to being a national political party. It is true that ZAPU was a national political party, it was never tribal. I remember when I was still a young boy, I personally saw Cde. Mabhena in Zaka when he accompanied Father Zimbabwe Joshua Nyongolo Nkomo, to try and encourage the only structures which were existing in Masvingo Province, the ZAPU structures to support ZANLA guerrillas. Therefore it is true that ZAPU was a national party. This effort to tribalise ZAPU also faced some cataracts because some people who knew ZAPU as a national party resisted this tribalism.

1980, was code-named 'The Year of the People's Power'. In 1981, was code-named, 'The Year of Consolidating the People's Power' and 1982, was code-named, Gore rebindurazvinhu. They wanted to change the national existence of certain political parties at the advantage of others. Mr. Mabhena witnessed the crackdown which was targeted at ZAPU members including Father Zimbabwe. I remember at one time when Father Zimbabwe made an effort to escape this crackdown clad in a maternity dress. Mr. Mabhena also witnessed the massacre of the people of Matabeleland during the Gukurahundi period, he was one of the victims. In 1987, Mr. Mabhena witnessed the worst deceit of the century, the 1987 Unity Accord, which resulted in the complete swallow of ZAPU by ZANU PF. He also witnessed the marginalisation of the people of Matabeleland and Masvingo province and also the unsuccessful attempt to fire party founding members from this compound party. He witnessed the suppression of divergent opinion after the formation of ZUM by Edgar 'Two Boy' Tekere, which had followed a tide of corruption, which had swept across the ZANU PF government.

Mr. Mabhena also witnessed the impoverishment of the Zimbabwean worker due to very bad government policies. He witnessed the final disappointment of the Zimbabwean worker which led to the formation of the 'People's Party', the MDC with the focus on liberating the worker, the poor, traditional leaders, women and youth. Mr. Mabhena witnessed the unstoppable growth of the MDC on its way to become the future government of Zimbabwe and a party of excellence. He was there during the humiliating defeat of ZANU PF and its President, Mr. Robert Mugabe by the MDC and its President Mr. Morgan Richard Tsvangirai.

Mr. Mabhena witnessed the June 27, 2008 genocide perpetrated by ZANU PF which saw massive killings, displacements and destruction of property belonging to the MDC supporters. He saw the formation of the Inclusive Government characterised by the acrobatic gymnastics by ZANU PF in the implementation of all outstanding issues.

Mr. Mabhena was finally ditched by ZANU PF for his steadfastness against corruption, unjust enrichment of government ministers and persistent impoverishment of the masses of Zimbabwe. Before his untimely death, he had realised that the MDC carried the hope of the people of Zimbabwe. At the instance of the MDC's denied victory of 29 March, 2008, I can confirm that Mr. Mabhena died a very disappointed man. Mr. Mabhena deserved to live a hopeful and happy life after having sacrificed the greater part of his lifetime liberating this country, but we could see that the people of Zimbabwe were now being colonised by a local political party. So, we the people of Zimbabwe today, can confirm that, Zimbabwe shall be a country again as today it is a colony. May the soul of this gallant son rest in eternal peace. I thank you Madam Speaker.

*MRS. ZINYEMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I also want to add my voice in mourning the highly esteemed hon. Mabhena. It is true that Hon. Mabhena was a hero who was straight forward because he was fighting for his country, for the independence of the people. When it comes to independence and consideration of the gift bestowed upon you by God, it is not about colour or creed that should be looked at. I want to say, we are very sorry and we will surely follow in Hon. Mabhena's footsteps. Hon. Mabhena was brave and we should also uphold the goals that he had of liberating Zimbabwe. I want to say, we, who are still alive, instead of opening up healing wounds as a way of seeking respect and recognition and gather support by speaking of tribalism, it will not help us in any way. Anyone who leads along tribal lines is not a leader, as has been said by one hon. member, you need to have the character of Nkomo and that of Hon. Mabhena, of knowing that you are a Zimbabwean. I know that if I am to mention a certain name that I want to mention in this House, you will hear hon. members passing comments. Jabulani Sibanda says that he does not know any clan known as mukaranga but he knows people who speak chikaranga. He does not know anyone known as Ndebele but knows those who speak Ndebele. In that manner, we as leaders, if we condone tribalism, what will our children back home do? They will group themselves into these tribes, the manyikas will have their own tribe and the karangas will do the same. The Ndebeles will likewise have their own clan. Looking at this, can we really build up a united nation?

I want to go back to the issue that, do we enjoy the death of others in this august House so that we can come here and start quarreling, yelling insults among ourselves. We behave as if, it is an opportunity for us to be airing our grievances. We do not want to refer to previous wars, but if you want us to, we can go way back to the wars that took place between the Shona and Ndebele as they came into Zimbabwe. As nation builders, as Members of Parliament and as leaders, we should not refer to previous wars. We should lead by example.

I want to talk about the Heroes Acre and Heroism, this issue did not start recently, it was started way back, so that anyone who would have made a substantial contribution to the country and displays consistency and persistence should be honoured. That is why the Heroes Acre was established, this was way before other political parties were formed. For this reason, people need to be thankful.

MR. DUMBU: On a point of order, the hon. member is deliberately lying to this House that when the Heroes Acre was established there was only one political party it is false.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Dumbu there is no point of order.

*MRS. ZINYEMBA : Thank you Madam Chair for affording me this opportunity to debate this motion. I do agree that as democratic people who belong to different political parties, we have a different view on the conferment of the hero status. As a starting point, we have to meet with the leadership that created the heroes status in the country with the aim of introducing some changes and innovations in the conferment of the status to the departed individuals. From there, as Zimbabweans we make suggestions on the conferment of the status to certain individuals within our organs. In life it has been noticed that people who make a lot of noise on the conferment of the hero status on certain individuals have some skeletons in the cupboard which they want to hide. A real hero is easily distinguished by his heroic antics. There are some people who are aware of the fact that they will never be declared heroes but deliberately want to be conferred to that status by unorthodox means. Just like the member we are debating was about; he was very consistent and very patriotic to his country till death. We should follow the Act on the conferment of heroes status and stop this quarrel.

MR. DZIRUTWE: Thank you Madam Speaker. My contribution is going to be short because most of the things I wanted to say have been said. The late National Hero Hon. Mabhena was an imposing figure. Every time he spoke, you just had to pay attention - the structure of the face, talk of seriousness, most of his discussions always forced you to pay attention. Yes a lot of people participated in the liberation of this country- but Hon. Mabhena went a step further. He did not stop in 1980. Whenever there was something that needed to be said, he said it. He never worried about what most of us term rocking the boat - boats are supposed to be rocked. Someone has to be the devil's advocate - now if you say consistency is about paying lip service, we do not want to annoy the leader or leaders so I will hold my peace; then we are not true heroes. Hon. Mabhena was very passionate about the liberation of Zimbabweans, very passionate also about justice for all Zimbabweans. Even to this date when he was talking about the marginalisation of people of Matabeleland, I am not from Matabeleland, I am from Manicaland, but I always ask why have not we supplied the people of Matabeleland, with water. If we can afford to spend money on all sorts of luxurious things - why do we not give them the water they need? So as a person, he is my hero. I am not worried about the debate that might have happened if he was or he was not consistent - he is the man I admired and I am hoping that some amongst us will have the guts or the energy to stand up to our leaders even if we are in the same political party and say you are wrong. Let us reverse and take the proper decision. This is what I admire Hon Mabhena for. may about. May his soul rest in peace.

+MR. R. MOYO: I would like to conclude this debate on the heroes status of the late Mabhena thanking all members who contributed to this lively debate. I would like to thank the following hon. members: Hon. Mudzuri, Hon. Mudarikwa who narrated the history of previous heroes some unknown to us. Some of them are beyond our boarders, some are in Africa while some are in Zimbabwe. I would like to thank Hon. Mkandla, Hon. A Ndlovu. These people made a fruitful contribution to this motion - my gratitude also goes to Hon. F.M. Sibanda, Hon. B. Matonga whom we welcome to the Ndebele clan because he is a 'Matonga'. I would also want to thank Hon. Dumbu for his contribution and Hon mother Zinyemba who spoke eloquently.

I will now touch on a thorny issue of tribalism because when we talk about oppression, we will have felt that there is a certain tribe that is being oppressed. Then why do we not give these people a chance to speak about their feelings so that we understand why they are always talking about tribalism. If I had said my totem was Samaita (Dube), there would not be any noise, but if I had said I come from that other part of the country, there would be a lot of noise. I thank Hon. Dzirutwe - these people have revealed that the person we are talking about is a real hero not a minor one. He is a man who worked hard for his country. What I am saying is that Mr 'Sigwegwe - Umtungwa' worked hard for his country. We also thank his comrades in arms for the wonderful work they did. May they all rest in peace. We are where we are because of them. I wish them an excellent rest in peace and may the Lord above be with them. I also implore the august House and the State to seriously consider to open channels of communication with the Mabhena family so as to establish rapport in their moment of grief over the loss of the head of the family.

Motion put and adopted.

On the motion of THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA) , the House adjourned at Four Minutes to Four O'clock p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 21 November 2013 15:21
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS
National Assembly Hansard Vol. 37 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 14 JUNE 2011 VOL. 37 NO. 34