Mashudu Netsianda Bulawayo Bureau—
VICE PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday visited the home of Assistant Director in the President’s Office, Cde Zenzo Ntuliki (57) in Bulawayo’s Burnside suburb to console the bereaved family. Cde Ntuliki, who died on Friday last week, was on Wednesday declared a national hero and will be buried on Saturday at the National Heroes Acre in Harare. VP Mnangagwa described the late war veteran as an honest, committed and loyal cadre whose career was illustrious and clean.
“The family has lost a father, an uncle and a brother, but as a country we have lost a gallant and patriotic cadre who always put Zimbabwe first. He has been very honest, correct, loyal and committed. There is no incident in his career where we see any blemish,” said the VP.
VP Mnangagwa said he had known Cde Ntuliki for more than 30 years since the days of the liberation struggle.
“He is a young man who joined the Office of the President when I was still there and he was very young then. I have known him for 30 years or so and he was a very honest and committed cadre who rose to that level because of his commitment and loyalty to the party and the Government,” he said.
“It is a pity that we have lost this young man. He is one of the young men who came to the war on the Zipra side when he was very young. I also know him because during the war and towards the end of it he had also gone to the National Security Organisation of Zipra and I was head of security the other side. So we know each other in that sense.”
VP Mnangagwa said as head of the Central Intelligence Organisation’s Western division, Cde Ntuliki was at the level of a Brigadier-General when comparing the post to military ranks.
The Western region covers Bulawayo, Masvingo, the Midlands as well as Matabeleland North and South provinces.
VP Mnangagwa said Cde Ntuliki would visit him at his farm in Kwekwe where they would spend weekends together.
“He was in Gweru and during weekends he would come to my farm in Kwekwe where I stay and we would spend Saturdays and Sundays together braaing,” he said.
VP Mnangagwa said prior his death, the Government was in the process of making arrangements for Cde Ntuliki to travel to India for medical attention.
“Two weeks ago I spoke to him advising him to go to India and he had accepted, so I was telling him to check which hospitals in India could assist him and the request had gone to his department. We were in the process of arranging for him to go to India, but unfortunately God being God, he makes his own decisions,” he said.
VP Mnangagwa said Cde Ntuliki earned respect from the leadership because of his loyalty.
“As we go on I am sure the system will identify others to take over the duties that he was doing, but I know that as we go on, it will be very difficult for the new person who comes in as that person must also earn the same respect which Zenzo earned from the leadership,” he said
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.
The Minister of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage and also the Minister of Provincial Affairs for Matabeleland South, Cde Abednego Ncube said as a province they were grateful to the party leadership and President Mugabe.
“We are very grateful to His Excellency President RG Mugabe for declaring him a national hero.
We feel very much respected by the decision to inter him at the national shrine. He was very loyal to the party and Government. He participated in the liberation war and joined the Government where he served with distinction. We appeal to other Zimbabweans to lead by example like what he did,” said Cde Ncube.
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 Secondary School which he left in 1974 when he was in Form 3 to join the armed struggle in Zambia via Botswana.
He was part of the 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 Minister Kembo Mohadi.
The CGT Camp was under the command of the current Zimbabwe National Army commander, Lt-General Philip Valerio Sibanda.
Cde Ntuliki was later on 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 his residence Number 19 Kildare Road in Burnside, Bulawayo.