Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
The Second Republic has been commended for honouring revered General Mtshana Khumalo who has been granted National hero status.
Gen Khumalo was the commander of King Lobengula’s Imbizo Regiment that defeated the Allan Wilson Patrol at the Battle of Pupu in 1893 as the first shots of colonial resistance were fired.
Allan Wilson was honoured and the legacy is there for all to see but our own Gen Khumalo, the victor was not.
Now Government has honoured Gen Khumalo who has been granted a National hero status for his role in fighting colonialism.
Addressing the Zanu PF Midlands Provincial Coordinating Committee meeting in Gweru on Saturday, President Mnangagwa said he received a letter from King Lobengula’s grandson commending Government for honouring Gen Mtshana.
“I got a letter on Wednesday, from the grandson of King Lobengula, he was saying thank you President for recognising Mtshana Khumalo my great great uncle. That’s what is done. He didn’t write a letter saying he wanted to be a King but commended us for recognising his grandfather Lobengula’s General,” he said.
During this year’s Heroes Day virtual address, President Mnangagwa announced that Gen Khumalo would be honoured alongside Queen Lozikeyi and Mgandani Dlodlo including Mbuya Nehanda whose statue is being erected in Harare.
Additionally, the list of the country’s monuments would be reviewed to include the Pupu Liberation War Shrine amongst others.
Government is seized with the construction of Mbuya Nehanda`s statue in Harare at the intersection of Samora Machel and Julius Nyerere, where she is believed to have occasionally stopped to rest and drink water from a river that flowed on the site.
President Mnangagwa said in USA they have Abraham Lincoln statue, George Washington, in France they have statues of their heroes, in UK they have statues of Churchill and Cromwell who are their heroes.
“Now we say let’s honour our own Mbuya Nehanda and they say we are backward. No. Whether they like it or not, we will have the statue because she was a revolutionary and Zanu-PF is a revolutionary party.
Some clerics ask us why we are having the statues but we never heard them demanding the removal of David Livingstone at the Victoria Falls or at the entrance at Monomotapa building, as you enter the building, there is a statue of David Livingstone. We’ve never heard a single church asking for the removal of the statue but they don’t want the one for Mbuya Nehanda,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said a statue for the late Father Zimbabwe Joshua Nkomo was erected in Bulawayo because he is “our hero.”
“In August we honoured Gen Khumalo who commanded the Imbizo Regiment, under King Lobengula, that defeated the Allan Wilson Patrol at the Battle of Pupu on 10 December 1893. So, this year, last month, the Second Republic granted Gen Khumalo a National Hero status. That’s how they honour their commanders in other countries. Gen Khumalo is our war hero,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said at Cecil John Rhodes’ grave, there is a tarred road but there is no tarred road leading to King Mzilikazi’s grave.
“We are going to construct a road leading to King Mzilikazi’s grave. We are clear about our heroes. This land we were not given on a silver platter. That must be clear. That will never change,” he said.
The President said last Friday he received a letter from someone from Hwedza area who said he wanted to revive the Rozvi Kingdom.
“I received a letter from someone from Hwedza, he said he wanted to revive the Rozvi Kingdom, I placed the letter in my drawer. There is no kingdom here, it’s a Republic, we can only have chiefs. So Chief (Ngungumbane who was in the meeting) when you hold your meetings, you speak about chiefs and not kings or kingdoms,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said Zimbabwe is a Republic and therefore there are no kingdoms.
“There are those who wanted to revive a king in Matabeleland region and we said no, you can’t have a kingdom in a Republic. That’s why they say the Kingdom of Lesotho, Kingdom of Eswatini, those are kingdoms, they are not republics. Zimbabwe is a Republic and there cannot be a king. There can only be chiefs,” said the President.