Richard Muponde and Mashudu Netsianda
Hundreds of mourners thronged Mkwidzi Secondary School in Gwanda yesterday to console the family of national hero and late Assistant Director in the Office of the President, Cde Zenzo Ntuliki. Cde Ntuliki (58) died last Friday at Mater Dei Hospital and was declared a national hero. He will be buried at the National Heroes Acre tomorrow. In an emotional send off, speakers described him as a humble and honest person. Cde Ntuliki’s body arrived in Gwanda shortly after 10am aboard an Airforce of Zimbabwe helicopter, which was being escorted by another one carrying his relatives.
Thereafter, the body was ferried to his rural home at Matshetsheni in a hearse at the request of relatives before returning to Mkwidzi Secondary School for the funeral service.
The Minister of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture, Cde Abednego Ncube and the zanu-pf leadership from the province received Cde Ntuliki’s body at the school grounds. Cde Ncube said Cde Ntuliki and other Zipra cadres worked tirelessly to fight for independence from minority white colonial rule.
“The only fitting honour for our late national hero Cde Ntuliki is to vote resoundingly for zanu-pf in next year’s harmonised elections,” he said. “Cde Ntuliki was a man of principle who fought for this country and served it diligently.
“We are very grateful to the zanu-pf First Secretary and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, His Excellency President Mugabe for honouring the people of this province by conferring him with national hero status. Indeed, it’s an honour for everyone.”
zanu-pf Matabeleland South provincial chairman, Cde Rabelani Choeni, described the late national hero as an intelligent person.
“Zenzo came to Botswana when I was already there,” he said.
“He came with four others from Gwanda Secondary School and we stayed together at Phikwe before we went to Zambia at Mwembeshi Training Camp and then to Choma.
“It was during the time of Détente and we later went together to Mgagao in Tanzania where we received our military training.”
Cde Choeni said Cde Ntuliki was an astute person who was loyal to the party leadership and his commanders.
“He was later assigned to be one of those who were giving security to the late Father Zimbabwe Vice President Joshua Nkomo,” he said. “He was very loyal to the leadership and was a very humble cadre.”
Central Intelligence Organisation Director in charge of Internal Security, Mr Walter Bhasopo, said Cde Ntuliki was a humble and crafty person.
“You would not tell that he held such a high ranking position because he was very submissive to authority,” he said.
The body left Gwanda in the afternoon for his house in Bulawayo’s Burnside suburb accompanied by Minister Ncube and Cde Choeni.
The body will lie in state at his house before being flown to Harare today for burial at the National Heroes Acre tomorrow.