Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
Vice-President Kembo Mohadi has said the late national hero Cde Absolom Sikhosana was a dedicated and loyal cadre with unquestionable credentials.
He made the remarks yesterday while delivering a condolence message to Cde Sikhosana’s family in Nkulumane suburb.
Cde Sikhosana died on Friday at the age of 70 at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where he had been admitted since last week on Monday.
Burial arrangements will be announced in due course.
President Mnangagwa conferred national hero status on Cde Sikhosana prior to Zanu-PF Bulawayo province submitting its recommendation letter to the ruling party’s Politburo for such a declaration.
VP Mohadi said the ruling party was shaken following the news of Cde Sikhosana’s demise.
He said it was saddening that Cde Sikhosana, a Politburo member and acting Zanu-PF Bulawayo provincial chairperson, died at a time when Government was fighting to economically empower Zimbabweans.
“We don’t know where we will get another Sikhosana, we know what he always did for us. We were very much shaken in the leadership. It came to us when we least expected. We thought he would soldier on but he is no more. That is a fact, he is no longer amongst us, he is departed. We are not going to see another Sikhosana again,” said the Vice President.
He said Government remains focused on delivering economic emancipation to the nation even in the face of adversity.
“We were together in this economic war. This is what we told ourselves. We were taught by our leaders that what we are fighting for whilst we were in the bush is self-determination and political independence. But there is a greater war that was coming, they told us. Our leadership told us that there was a greater war coming after that (the political independence) and that war is the economic liberation war. We have not achieved that,” said Vice President Mohadi.
“As we try to achieve it, a lot of spanners were thrown into the works but together with Sikhosana we were working on getting all the spanners out of the way so that we all forge together with the development of this economy. Alas he was not to be there, alas he had to leave us in the midst of the struggle. That does not mean the struggle is over. We have to take up the mantle ourselves and run with it until his teachings, his vision is achieved.”
Vice President Mohadi said while his family had lost a relative, Cde Sikhosana’s colleagues in Zanu-PF were feeling the same loss.
He narrated his long-term friendship with Cde Sikhosana dating back to the liberation struggle and after independence after they both started in the Zanu-PF Youth League structures.
Vice President Mohadi told the mourners that he nicknamed the national hero ‘Goebbels’ because of his ability to make bad situations look good during their time in the Youth League executive.
The Vice President said while he was in charge of the restructuring of Bulawayo province, he heavily depended on Cde Sikhosana who wanted united party structures.
He said he leaves a huge gap that would be difficult to fill in the metropolitan province.
“As Cde (Angelina) Masuku has said, Bulawayo will never be same again without Sikhosana. I would describe him as a determined, dependable, loyal cadre that is what he was. He was self-motivated on party matters, even in his ill health, you would see him running. As Cde Masuku highlighted that the restructuring of Bulawayo also falls under my purview, Cde Sikhosana was at the forefront of that,” said the Vice President.
He said those who worked close to him will always remember him for being principled.
Vice President Mohadi said the Politburo unanimously agreed that he be declared a national hero due to the contributions he made to the country.
“This is what is going to remain in our memories and is going to remain within our annals of history. No one will ever obliterate that, no one will ever erase that because that is Sikhosana. That is him. That is what he was. Umama uMasuku said we acted faster than they expected. Clearly who else could have doubted his status? Who else in this country could have doubted that? Even those that are not within our party know who Sikhosana is and what he has done for this country and for the party,” said Vice President Mohadi.
“So, he is a national hero, he earned it. It was not just conferred on him, he earned it. That is what he is that is what he was. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that we might have done it without following the laid down procedures of trying to wait for letters to come from the provinces.”
On the issue of escalating prices, the Vice President said Government will continue negotiating for the implementation of a price moratorium and price reduction as was earlier announced.
He said Government will not force its hand on the market but remains determined to ensure prices go down.
“We agreed that we had to revert to the 25th March prices. The question of enforcement is something else. They might be citing certain things but eventually we are going to reach an agreement because that moratorium was not law, it was not a statutory instrument. It was an agreement between Government and the business community. As Government we will continue to engage but we are not going to institute any law against that,” he said.
Cde Masuku said Bulawayo was humbled by President Mnangagwa’s decision to declare Cde Sikhosana a national hero even before receiving a recommendation from the province.
Meanwhile, the Zanu-PF Youth League has described Cde Sikhosana as a selfless servant leader who devoted his entire life in service to the nation.
In a statement, the Youth League secretary for information and publicity, Cde Yeukai Simbanegavi said they learnt with great shock the news of the untimely passing on of one of the revolutionary party’s longest-serving and most consistent cadres.
“We do therefore, with heavy hearts, convey and extend our sincerest condolences to all those who worked with, and those who, like us, have had the privilege of benefitting from being in contact with him throughout his illustrious career,” she said.
“Even in our sorrow, we celebrate the life and times of Cde Sikhosana, who had risen to become a Zanu-PF Politburo member, as a lifetime of milestones in the ideological education of the youth. Affectionately known by many as ‘Cde Nkosi’ or ‘Headmaster’, Cde Sikhosana came to represent the energetic, vibrant, never-say-die spirit of the revolution which to his credit, came to characterise the Zanu-PF Youth League.”
Family spokesperson and Cde Sikhosana’s younger sister Mrs Euna Ndlovu said the family feels consoled following the support they have received from
Government, the ruling party and the community at large.
She said the support is testimony to who her brother was and how he impacted on the community.
“As people we all have different gifts that we were given by God. His was to work for the people. We feel comforted to hear a lot of people describing how he worked with them. We are thankful to Government, Zanu-PF and all the people for standing with us during this difficult period,” she said.
Cde Sikhosana was born on 26 October 1949 in Matobo District under Chief Masuku in Matabeleland South Province.
He attended Nduna Primary School from 1956 to mid-1958. He moved to White Water Primary School for Standard One to Three and that was between 1958 and 1960.
Cde Sikhosana also attended Lozikeyi Primary in Bulawayo for Standard Four to Six from 1961 to 1964.
In 1965 he moved to Mzilikazi Secondary School, then Mgandane for his Form One to Four and in 1969 he attained a certificate in Salesmanship from Rapid Results College and a Diploma in Public Relations from Ruskin College in the United Kingdom.
Cde Sikhosana worked as a Tally Clerk for the Bulawayo Clothing Factory (Charter Clothing) from 1970 to 1975. Between 1976 and 1977 Cde Sikhosana was elected regional organiser for the Rhodesian Clothing and Garment Workers Union. His movement from Charter Clothing to trade unionism was orchestrated by the political leadership to fill the gap left by the detention of the late nationalist Cde Enos Mdlongwa.
In 1977, Cde Sikhosana left the country for Zambia via Botswana to join the armed struggle and was trained at Camp of General Training (CGT) as an infantry cadre. After demobilisation in 1982, he joined the Bulawayo Municipal Workers Union and became the organising secretary.
In 1992 Cde Sikhosana was seconded to the Public Service International Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 1983 he was elected National Secretary General for the ZAPU Youth wing. Between 1987 and 1989 Cde Sikhosana was instrumental in uniting the structures of the two liberation parties after the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987.
He was elected Youth Publicity and Information Secretary for the united party Zanu-PF at the inaugural Youth Conference in 1989. Cde Sikhosana became the National Deputy Secretary for the Zanu- PF Youth League deputising the late National Hero Chief Air Marshall Josiah Tungamirai.
Between 2000 and 2014, he served as Zanu-PF National Secretary for Youth Affairs. In 2014 he became Deputy Secretary in the Department of Implementation of Indigenisation Policy in the Politburo.
In October 2019 he was appointed acting chairman for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, a position he held until the time of his death.
He is survived by wife, Mrs Jelina Dube Sikhosana, five children and six grandchildren.
Mourners are gathered at his home, Number 3115 Nkulumane 5 in Bulawayo. — @nqotshili