Herald Reporter

President Mnangagwa has sent his condolences to the Sikhosana family following the death of Zanu PF Politburo member Cde Absalom Sikhosana on Saturday from a heart ailment he had battled for some time.

Cde Sikhosana (70) died at United Bulawayo Hospitals and has since been declared a national hero.

He will be buried at the National Heroes Acre tomorrow after a memorial service scheduled for White City Stadium in Bulawayo today.

President Mnangagwa said the late hero was a nationalist and trained veteran of the liberation struggle who began his struggle against colonialism as a youth activist in the 1970s.

A radical trade unionist, he later joined the liberation war at Camp of General Training in Zambia in 1977, said President Mnangagwa.

“Always dedicated to the freedom and service of his people, Cde Sikhosana distinguished himself as a long-time leader of our Youth League, in the process moulding several youths many of whom matured politically, becoming dependable leaders in different echelons of our party Zanu PF and in different sectors of our society.

“Genial but firm, respectful and soft-spoken but unwavering, the late Cde Sikhosana was always faithful to the party line and would be relied upon to undertake onerous chores for the party in different provinces of our country. In all this throughout his political career, the late hero exemplified unity and cohesion in the party, a demeanour which made him approachable and acceptable across all organs of our party. We will miss him sorely,”  said the President.

“On behalf of the party, Zanu-PF, the Politburo, my family and my own behalf, I wish to convey my heartfelt condolences to the Sikhosana family, especially to Mrs Sikhosana and the children. As they grieve over this saddest loss, may they find comfort and be consoled by Cde Sikhosana’s outstanding role in the struggle for our independence and in his distinguished leadership, both in the Youth League and lately of the whole Bulawayo Province of which he was its interim chairman.

“Our party’s decision to confer national hero status on Cde Sikhosana is the least we could do by way of honouring this stalwart of the struggle and the ever hardworking cadre of our party.”

Cde Sikhosana’s body lay in state at his residence in Nkulumane suburb, Bulawayo, yesterday night and will this morning be flown to his farm in Inyathi, before being taken back to Bulawayo for the White City memorial service set for 11am.

The national hero’s body will be flown to Harare around 3pm for burial tomorrow morning.

Mr William Changwara, who represented Secretary for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Mr Aaron Nhepera, said due to Cde Sikhosana’s contributions, Government saw it fit that he be buried at the national shrine among his revolutionary cadres.

Government has organised vehicles for 12 of the national hero’s relatives and three buses to take 96 mourners to Harare for the burial.

Each bus will ferry 32 mourners to observe social distancing.

Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube said Cde Sikhosana would be buried alongside other national leaders including the late Vice-Presidents, Joshua Nkomo and Simon Muzenda.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Reverend Imon Ndlovu said Government’s decision had been welcomed by the family.

“Cde Sikhosana worked closely with Government and as a family, we can’t be seen contradicting it. Government knows better the magnitude of his works. Again, if we as a family are allowed to access the National Heroes Acre, we don’t see any problem with the latest arrangement,” said Rev Ndlovu.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs Jelina Dube-Sikhosana, five children and six grandchildren.