Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
THE Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs, Cde Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo, has warned war veterans in Bulawayo against washing their dirty linen in public following a scuffle involving the freedom fighters at the Provincial Heroes’ Acre in Nkulumane on Monday.
There was drama at the provincial shrine on Heroes’ Day when a group of ex-combatants led by Cde Cephas Ncube barred one led by Cde Roy Maphosa from laying a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Police had to intervene following a war of words between the two groups of war veterans over the laying of flowers.
Cde Moyo, who was at the Heroes’ Day commemorations when the incident occurred, described the war veterans’ behaviour as unbecoming, saying the heroes’ shrine is a sacred place that must be respected by everyone.
“The Heroes’ Acre is a place of respect and that is where the people who fought for this country were laid to rest. We therefore expect everyone to treat the shrine with respect, especially the war veterans. I’m disappointed that the people who claim to be cadres of the revolutionary struggle have shown such disdain to their comrades’ resting place.
“I have warned them against washing their dirty linen in public. It’s not our culture to fight at the grave site. We all have issues but the last thing I expect is for people to fight at the Heroes’ Acre. In our culture it’s not acceptable. It was disappointing for the war veterans to fight in front of families who had come to attend the event in memory of their loved ones,” said Cde Moyo.
She added that nobody had the right to stop people from showing love and respect to their departed loved ones.
“No one has the right to stop other people from showing their love and respect to their departed loved ones. That place belongs to the State and everybody has free access as long as they respect the place.
“As Minister of State for Bulawayo, I am responsible for the Heroes’ Acre and whenever such incidents occur, it’s my duty to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I personally feel that the war veterans need to look for other places to resolve their issues, not the provincial shrine,” said Cde Moyo.
The ugly incident happened when Cde Maphosa was pushed aside by a protesting group of war veterans who chanted slogans and insulted him when he tried to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
This was after Cde Moyo and Cde Ncube had already laid the wreath on the tomb.
Cde Maphosa finally managed to lay the wreath after police intervened.
Meanwhile, Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees Minister Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube will meet war veterans in Gwanda today and in Bulawayo tomorrow.
Rtd Col Tshinga Dube confirmed the meetings, saying they will be discussing issues that affect the freedom fighters. — @pamelashumba1