HARARE – President Robert Mugabe yesterday told Zanu PF supporters of his heartache at witnessing the high number of deaths that the former liberation movement has had to contend with this year — including having to preside over their burials at the National Heroes Acre.
Speaking at the burial of the late Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu yesterday, Mugabe lamented the number of times that he and his colleagues had gathered at the national shrine to bury a fallen comrade.
“This year has been a sad year, probably the saddest for our party and our nation because we have gathered here in the same way as we are doing today four times before, this now being our fifth…and that was all to bury our national heroes,” a sorrowful Mugabe told mourners and Zanu PF supporters.
“Diseases do not attack people on the basis of their positions, their cleverness or richness, it’s a visitor, that ugly visitor that afflicts everyone regardless of that state that you hold in life.
“So all of us get affected and we are forced to move onto the same chartered road towards destiny, all of you, us, got ill, get ill…the road is the same now for us.
“Death is our destiny, we all die…, it’s the way for all of us but we are human beings, we always would have wanted to live longer than the prescribed days for us on this earth. He who gives the life is the one who takes it, that’s what our Bible says,” he added.
Since the beginning of the year, Mugabe has buried former Mashonaland West provincial governor and resident minister Peter Chanetsa, who passed away in January, former CIO boss Zenzo Ntuliki, who died in April, Brigadier General James Murozvi, who also died in the same month and former chief justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, last month.
Mugabe said the late Ndlovu was the only remaining cadre of his generation whom he used to interact with.
Born in 1930, Ndlovu was six years junior to Mugabe.
“He was a friend, we called him NK, that shall not be again. I called him babazala (father-in-law)…for those who have remained; none of them is fit for me to call babazala.
“They are all youngsters. We, the two of us were their elders,” Mugabe said, adding that he used to interact with Ndlovu, because they were of the same age.
Ndlovu, who died nearly 87 years-old, was Bulawayo’s first black mayor in post-independent Zimbabwe and former deputy president of the Senate.
He died in Bulawayo in the early hours of Monday last week after a long battle with prostate cancer.
A veteran member of PF-Zapu, Ndlovu was the liberation movement’s representative at the 1979 all-party Rhodesia conference at Lancaster House in London after escalation of the independence war, helping to broker a peace agreement and constitution for an independent Zimbabwe.