ZANU PF has declared its late terror group Chipangano leader, Edward Mungwari Chataika, a liberation war hero, in recognition of his role in ensuring a resounding victory for the ruling party in the 2013 elections.
BY SILENCE CHARUMBIRA
Chataika died on April 2 at his home in Mbare and was buried at the Harare Provincial Heroes Acre yesterday.
The Zanu PF activist led a violent election campaign in most parts of Harare, particularly Mbare, leaving mostly opposition MDC-T activists displaced.
According to a letter seen by NewsDay signed by Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo dated April 3, 2016, Chataika’s family would be entitled to benefits from the government.
“I shall be most grateful if you would make the usual arrangements for his burial and payment of benefits to his dependants. He is from Harare Province,” read part of the letter addressed to Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda.
The conferment yesterday sparked outrage from opposition political parties with the MDC-T saying hero status had been “bastardised” by Zanu PF.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said many genuine heroes could be turning in their graves as they witnessed the conferment of hero status on “political thugs and perpetrators of gross human rights abuse”.
“Surely, this is a gross insult to all victims of the terrorism that was unleashed on innocent and defenceless people by the terror group Chipangano. We have stated it before and we repeat it here and now: Zanu PF can proceed to bury its thugs and criminals wherever it wishes, but one day very soon, true and genuine heroes and heroines shall be separated from hooligans and traitors who have been undeservedly buried at what should otherwise be solemn and respectable burial shrines,” Gutu said.
MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said: “Zanu PF has a history of rewarding bogus and violent people. Our understanding is that Chataika is one of the people who spearheaded the 2008 terror in Mbare making the suburb a no-go area. We get very worried when Zanu PF begins to reward such people.
“Chataika does not deserve hero status. Zanu PF has rewarded a criminal by conferring him with liberation war hero status. The people of Zimbabwe will not miss him.”
People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said: “He should have gone to the grave coming from prison.”