Nqobile Tshili and Mashudu Netsianda, Chronicle Reporters
THE late Assistant Director in the President’s Office, Cde Zenzo Ntuliki (57), who died on Friday last week, has been declared a national hero.
He will be buried on Saturday at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
The Minister of State Security Cde Kembo Mohadi disclosed the decision by Zanu-PF to mourners gathered at the late war veteran’s house in Bulawayo’s Burnside suburb last night.
“I thought I should convey this message to you which isn’t my message but on behalf of party and the Government that this is what we’ve decided about Zenzo. He’s a national hero and we’ve declared him so,” said Cde Mohadi.
He hailed Cde Ntuliki, who was the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) assistant director in charge of the Western region, for the role he played in the liberation struggle, describing him as an exceptional cadre who rose through the ranks.
The Western region covers Bulawayo, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South as well as the Midlands provinces.
“I’ve known Ntuliki for many years since he was a boy growing under our watchful eye. We gave him the training that equipped him to be the person he was. I think in his group he was one of the youngest and we used to call him kijana (small boy) because of his age,” he said.
Cde Mohadi said Cde Ntuliki’s dedication saw him drop out of school to join the armed struggle.
He said the Politburo resoundingly endorsed his national hero status with only five members professing ignorance about his activities.
“Having learnt about his demise we sat down as the President’s Department and wrote whatever we wrote about him, chronicled all his life and submitted it to the powers-that-be for the consideration of a status befitting someone of his stature. His province Matabeleland South did the same and then they supported our position and we then eventually received correspondence from the party after having done the consultations,” said Cde Mohadi.
“Of all the members of the Politburo only five said they didn’t know him and the rest indicated that they knew Zenzo and that he should be conferred the national hero status. So he has been conferred that honour by his party, and the Government for his contribution during and after the liberation struggle, and this is what we thought we should give him as a send-off.”
Cde Mohadi said the late CIO boss was a selfless cadre who never looked back in the execution of his duties.
“He executed his duties diligently, faithfully to the satisfaction of everybody. When this happened we instructed the security sector to make sure that everything here is done properly,” he said.
Cde Mohadi said the security sector has been dealt a heavy blow through Cde Ntuliki’s death.
He said the late hero’s body will lie in state at his house tomorrow before being flown to Harare ahead of Saturday’s burial at the national Heroes’ Acre.
Cde Ntuliki died at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo after a long illness.
An accomplished war veteran, Cde Ntuliki whose nom de guerre was Maphekapheka, joined the President’s Department soon after Independence in 1980 where he worked in various portfolios until the time of his death.
Cde Ntuliki was born on August 8, 1959, in Gwanda District’s Matshetsheni area in Matabeleland South.
He, however, grew up in Mawabeni in Esigodini where he did his primary education.
For his secondary education he went to Gwanda High School which he left in 1974 when he was in Form Three to join the armed struggle in Zambia via Botswana. He was part of a group of 800 which was the first biggest group to undergo training when Zipra was still building its force.
Cde Ntuliki joined the armed struggle at a tender age of 15 and he soldiered on and kept pace during the rigorous guerilla training at Morogoro Camp, Tanzania, in 1976.
After completing the guerilla training, Cde Ntuliki was inducted to the Military Intelligence Department at CGT Camp where he worked as a security officer under the wing of Cde Busobenyoka who had trained with Cde Mohadi. The CGT Camp was under the command of the current Zimbabwe National Army commander, Lt-General Philip Valerio Sibanda.
Cde Ntuliki was later sent for specialised training in intelligence in Bulgaria and he was the leader of his group.
During the armed struggle Cde Ntuliki, like any intelligence officer, was assigned on dangerous missions but managed to carry them with aplomb.
Cde Ntuliki is survived by eight children, three girls and five boys and six grandchildren.
Mourners are gathered at the family residence Number 19 Kildare Road in Burnside, Bulawayo.