BULAWAYO – Bulawayo’s first black mayor in post-independent Zimbabwe and former deputy president of the Senate Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu died in the early hours of yesterday.
He was 86.
A veteran member of PF-Zapu who was the liberation movement’s representative at the Lancaster House talks that ushered in independence in 1980, he has been described as a “revered politician” and a “humble man.”
His province was due to meet today to write to the Politburo requesting national hero status to be accorded on the late veteran liberation fighter.
Ndlovu passed on early yesterday morning at his daughter’s house in Suburbs.
Family spokesperson and Ndlovu’s daughter, Sifiso Agbetorwoka, told the Daily News that her father had been unwell since 2008 when he was diagnosed with cancer.
“He passed away this morning at around 2am at my house in Suburbs, where we have been looking after him for the past two weeks,” Agbetorwoka said.
“My father was suffering from prostate cancer which he was diagnosed in 2008. In 2012 it spread to the bones but he was living with it while managing to carry out normal activities.
“About two years ago, he couldn’t walk and he resorted to using a wheelchair but had radiotherapy done in Harare and he was back on his feet.”
She said her father later underwent chemotherapy and it made him feel better.
“He started complaining of being unwell at around April this year as his spinal cord was compressed but this time, much of the treatment could not help him much.”
She described him as a loving person who cared deeply about his family.
“He didn’t matter regardless of background. He was totally different and as his daughter, I wish I could be like him.”
She said burial arrangements were yet to be finalised as they were waiting for other relatives to arrive.
Zanu PF Central Committee member Richard Ndlovu described the late Ndlovu as a veteran nationalist who gave his all for the freedom of the country.
“Ndlovu has a long rich political history, he went through the white minority cruelty but he remained steadfast. He held several positions in the party and he never looked back.
“The leadership will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) in Gwanda to decide his hero status but no one can doubt his contribution and his position. He is a real national hero,” he said.
Ndlovu held several influential positions in government, the ruling Zanu PF party and former PF Zapu. He was PF Zapu’s last national chairman before the signing of the Unity Accord.
Earlier in 1985, he had become a Member of Parliament for Insiza North constituency after his term as Bulawayo mayor ended. He remained MP until 2000 when he lost the seat.
He was deputy speaker of Parliament. And when the upper house was reintroduced in 2005, he became the deputy president of the Senate.
He was first elected senator for Insiza in 2005 and retained his seat under the proportional representation system in 2013, representing Zanu PF in Matabeleland South.
He was a Central Committee member at the time of his death.
When the post of Vice President came up after the death of Vice President Joseph Msika, he let John Nkomo take his place as the most senior former Zapu official.
Ndlovu leaves behind two daughters and nine grandchildren. Mourners are gathered at his Luveve 4 home.