Zanu PF deliberates on Tekere hero status as pressure mounts

HARARE – Robert Mugabe's party Zanu PF party says deliberations on the status quo of veteran nationalist and former Secretary General of the party, Edgar Tekere, who died on Tuesday, will be announced by the Politburo in due course.

Tekere himself declared that he did not want to be burried at the heroes acre and he was well quoted saying he did not want Mugabe to “speechfy over my dead body.

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Despite sharing trenches with Robert Mugabe, the two men crossed swords repeatedly after independence and Tekere was eventually dropped from government.

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He challenged Mugabe in the 1990 presidential election, further driving a wedge between the two.

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Tekere died a destitute.

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Tekere’s biographer Dr Ibbo Mandaza has called on the government to honour him by declaring him a national hero and lay him at the National Heroes’ Acre – against his expressed wishes before his death.

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With Manicaland Province having already requested for the late Tekere to be accorded a national hero status, Zanu PF Secretary for Information and Publicity, Rugare Gumbo told State media that the party’ Secretary for Administration, Didymus Mutasa will soon give a collective decision status quo of the late gallant liberation heroe.

Defence Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa says Tekere was a vibrant revolutionary, who exhibited vast experience and knowledge that brought about independence, adding that his death is a blow to the nation.

In his remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who described the late Tekere as a nation builder, said the late nationalist was a source of inspiration to both young and old during and after independence and his departure should be treated with the respect it deserves.

Tekere, who was battling with cancer, died at Murambi clinic in Mutare at the age of 74.

He was founder member of the then Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and helped in organising the party during the Lancaster House talks.

Together with Robert Mugabe, Tekere served eleven years at Hwa-Hwa State Prison, Sikombela Detention Centre and Salisbury Prison.

Upon release from prison in 1975, Tekere and Mugabe left and crossed into Mozambique on foot.

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They followed the Gairezi River trail to Seguranza Military Camp in Mozambique, to mastermind the struggle. 

At independence, Tekere was elected the first Zanu PF Secretary General and became instrumental in inviting Bob Marley to perform at Rufaro Stadium for the official Zimbabwean Independence Celebration.

Tekere was appointed Minister of Manpower Planning in the new government led by the then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe in 1980.

He is survived by his wife, Ruvimbo and child, Farai Zechariah.