HARARE – MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa is invoking the legend of Ndabaningi Sithole, the late Zanu Ndonga leader and religious leader from the United Methodist Church, to win the Chipinge vote.
From recalling with nostalgia his visit to Sithole’s home with his late mentor Morgan Tsvangirai, to pledging to review the hero status of the late nationalist who was buried at his farm in Mount Selinda, if he wins the forthcoming general elections, Chamisa has now roped in the late former Zanu founder’s daughter into his campaign.
One of the pioneers of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle, Sithole died in the United States in December 2000 at the age of 80 after a long battle with high blood pressure, but was denied a hero’s status.
Sithole spearheaded the struggle for independence in Zimbabwe in the early 1960s and until the late 1970s when he was ousted, forcing him to form Zanu Ndonga.
Sithole’s tribal-based opposition political party for long enjoyed a single Chipinge seat in Parliament, which it lost in 2005 and never recovered.
The MDC Alliance has now endorsed the daughter of the late nationalist, Sifiso Sithole, to be the parliamentary candidate for Musikavanhu constituency.
The MDC Alliance picked Sifiso, who faced Pishayi Muchauraya — a former MDC Manicaland spokesperson — to represent MDC Alliance in the parliamentary election.
Speaking at a rally in Chipinge on Thursday, Chamisa said the party must fully support Sifiso.
“She is our Musikavanhu candidate; she is the daughter of our liberation icon Sithole. I heard that there were problems in Musikavanhu with Pishayi, but I talked to him and told him to support one candidate because there are many positions after we win elections, some are going to be ambassadors,” Chamisa said.
Sithole founded Zanu with former president Robert Mugabe and the late Herbert Chitepo, Leopold Takawira, Maurice Nyagumbo, Edgar Tekere and Enos Nkala.
Mugabe is the only survivor of that club.
In 1964 at the party congress at Gwelo, now Gweru, Sithole was elected president of Zanu and he appointed Mugabe as his secretary-general.
When Zanu was banned in 1964 by Ian Smith’s racist government, Sithole spent 10 years in prison after being arrested on June 22, 1964 alongside Mugabe, Tekere, Nyagumbo and Takawira for political activities.
Chamisa has said Sithole deserves hero status. Critics say the conferment of the hero’s status is biased against those outside Zanu PF, regardless of their contributions to the nation.
Currently, there is heated debate on the granting of hero or heroine status to Zimbabweans.
Presently, the Zanu PF politburo has the sole responsibility of deciding on who should be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre.