President Emmerson Mnangagwa has hit out at some local churches which have criticised his administration for constructing a giant Mbuya Nehanda’s statue within the Harare CBD, asking why they were quiet on the removal of David Livingstone’s stature in Victoria Falls.
After government announced plans to honour the First Chimurenga war heroine by constructing her statue, some churches criticised the move.
Some of the government critics have slammed authorities for perceived profligacy and misplaced priorities when the country had more pressing needs to direct scarce resources to.
An unperturbed Mnangagwa however, told party faithful in Gweru over the weekend that the construction of the statue was going ahead as planned.
The President said his government was also going to honour Ndebele King Mzilikazi by constructing a good road to his burial shrine.
“Whether they like it or not, we are going to construct that statue because she was a revolutionary and Zanu PF is a revolutionary party,” said the strongman, drawing cheers from the audience.
“Some churches ask us, why are you constructing Ambuya Nehanda’s statue? We have never heard them saying go and remove David Livingstone’s statue in Victoria Falls.
“No church has said remove Livingstone’s statue, but here they don’t want to have Mbuya Nehanda’s statue. It’s going to be constructed,” he said.
There have been attempts in the past to have the missionary’s statue removed by some disgruntled ex-combatants.
Mnangagwa added that there was no going back in honouring the country’s liberation war heroes.
“We constructed Nkomo’s statue in Bulawayo, he is our hero. We will continue honouring our heroes, that is our history and we will do so for posterity and for our kids so that they will know about our history,” he said.
Mnangagwa said Western countries also immortalise their heroes.
“In America, they have their own statues of Abraham Lincoln and Washington. Those are their heroes. In France, they have their own heroes, in the United Kingdom, they have their own. Here when we say we want to construct Mbuya Nehanda’s statue, they say we are pagan,” he said.
The President said government was going to honour King Mzilikazi.
“There are good roads when one is going to see Rhode’s grave. Whilst there are no good roads leading to Mzilikazi’s grave. We are going to construct a good road to Mzilikazi’s grave to show that we are clear of who we are. This land we fought for it and that will never change,” he said.