Outspoken Independent legislator for Norton constituency Temba Mliswa has questioned the conferment of national hero status to the late Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Joel Biggie Matiza.
Matiza (60) was declared a national hero together with the late former Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Commissioner General, Paradzai Zimondi (74). Both succumbed to COVID-19.
In a tweet the firebrand former Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairperson said the conferment is ridden with inconsistencies.
“I have no problem with the late JB Matiza, who was a hardworking Minister. However the conferring of hero status on him become a problem when one realizes epic war veterans like Dumiso Dabengwa are not there. The inconsistencies are just shocking.
“Is this the start of a changing criteria considering JB was never part of the struggle? He could have been made a provincial hero, yes but having overlooked other meritorious war veterans only to confer some like JB is shocking. What is the criteria now? Is there even one?” posted Mliswa
He said the Heroes Acre had lost its meaning no wonder the late former President Robert Mugabe refused to be interred at the shrine.
“No wonder Mugabe refused to be buried there, the place has lost meaning due to politicisation. There are many war veterans, Zapu people, not buried there but have enough credentials. Taifunga kuti avekuHeroes zvine zera, it appears that’s not the case yangove ndonga ndonga. (Is now whatever)
“An oversight, yes Dabengwa was made a hero but the point remains the absence of a national criteria, solid and recognizable is making Heroes Acre meaningless. The criteria cannot be wavering and politicised template tinkered with a whim,” he said
Mliswa said the Heroes Acre will in the end be littered with followers of those in position of authority instead of true heroes.
“The end result of a criteria that is not national but political and partisan is that we shall ultimately have a shrine that is littered with henchmen of those with power and not necessarily national heroes.
“The place is supposed to embody the values of people whom we look up to across the political divide; whose legacies span the limitations of ordinary people. It’s not supposed to be a mere private burial ground for recompensing political allies.
“We cannot use a national shrine to settle personal and political scores. Today it’s not a place that cements one’s legacy as a national hero as anyone can be buried there. Mugabe started this whole thing by refusing personal opponents the right to be buried there. Now pafumuka. (no longer sacred).” Mliswa said.