Gift Phiri 1 June 2017
HARARE – The opposition PF Zapu has said Zanu PF neglected the late war
veteran and nationalist Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu in his last days, yet
he stood by the ruling party, refusing to pull out of it in 2008.
Ndlovu, 86, died in Bulawayo in the early hours of Monday after a long
battle with prostate cancer, and has been declared national hero by
President Robert Mugabe.
The former liberation fighter was PF Zapu’s last national chairperson
before the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987 which saw Mugabe and Zapu’s
Joshua Nkomo ink a pact leading to the integration of the two liberation
movements following unrest in Midlands and Matabeleland.
Amid unprecedented economic hardships in 2008, former leaders of PF Zapu
walked out on the 1987 pact and ceased to operate under the title Zanu PF
and resumed the title of Zapu, but Ndlovu refused to cross floors.
Dumiso Dabengwa – a former senior member of Zanu PF and Mugabe’s Cabinet –
led the revival of PF Zapu and was subsequently appointed leader by the
“It is saddening that he (Ndlovu) did not find time to introspect and
interrogate his position at the face of blatant marginalisation, under the
Unity Accord, of the constituency that made him the man he is regarded
today, that is Zapu,” the Dabengwa-led liberation movement said in a
“Zapu notes with regret that despite Ndlovu turning his back on his own in
Zapu and dancing with Zanu PF, the party and government neglected his
welfare in his last days as noted by his wife who once complained in the
media,” the party added.
“It is, however, not surprising to us as Zapu since it has become policy
both in Zanu PF and Zimbabwean government to segregate former Zapu and
Zipra cadres when it comes to welfare from the state. It has happened
before and …Ndlovu’s case is not the first, as it surely will not be the
The pulling out of the Unity Accord by PF Zapu and its former leaders
shook Zanu PF to the foundations given that Mugabe’s party always used its
1987 pact to justify its claim that it enjoys the support of Zimbabweans
across the country.
PF Zapu and its late leader Nkomo drew most of their support from the
southern Matabeleland and Midlands provinces while Mugabe and Zanu PF are
strong in the northern parts of the country.
PF Zapu and Zanu PF fought a bitter 1970s guerrilla war to free Zimbabwe
from colonial rule. The two allies formed a government of national unity
at independence in 1980 but soon fell out when then Prime Minister Mugabe
accused PF Zapu leader Nkomo and his party of plotting an armed
insurrection against him. More than 20 000 innocent civilians from the
Ndebele ethnic minority that mostly supported PF Zapu are believed to have
been killed in the early 1980s during a bloody counter-insurgency drive by
the army ordered by Mugabe in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
The killings by the army’s North Korean trained 5th Brigade only stopped
with the signing of the Unity Accord when Nkomo agreed to merge his party
into Zanu PF while he took up the post of vice-president in government.
Mugabe said Ndlovu’s “untimely death is a terrible loss to his family, his
party Zanu PF and the nation at large…”
Ndlovu is set to be buried at the National Heroes Acre on Saturday.