SAD NEWS: Top Zanu PF official dies


BULAWAYO Province has requested a national heroine status for Cde Nellie Dupute who was laid to rest on Saturday at Lady Stanley Cemetery.

A former death row inmate at Chikurubi Prison after she was jailed by the Ian smith regime in the 1970s, Cde Dupute (78) who was a Zanu PF Central Committee and National Consultative Assembly member since 2009 died at the United Bulawayo Hospitals last Tuesday.

She was buried at Lady Stanley Cemetery as per her wish to be laid next to her husband, Mr Roger Mlefu Dupute, a prominent educationist who died in 2005.

Cde Dupute was born on May 6, 1944 in Ntabazinduna and did her primary education at David Livingstone from sub A to standard three and then went to St Cyprian Mission for standard four to six.

She later did her secondary education from form one to two at Mpopoma High School. Cde Dupute’s was first involved in politics soon after school in 1974 in Ntabazinduna as secretary of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU).

From 1970 to 1974 she became treasurer of the Mpopoma branch of the Zimbabwe African Women’s Union (ZAWU).

Early in 1975, she was elected Deputy Organising Secretary of ZAWU Bulawayo district.

In December 1976, she was arrested by the smith regime under the oppressive Law and Order Maintenance Act for recruiting and assisting freedom fighters.

Then High Court judge, Hugh Beadle sentenced her to death, forcing her to leave an infant at home.

After a long battle that entailed massive lobbying by international organisations and an intense fight by her lawyers, the sentence was commuted to 12 years’ imprisonment. However, she only served three years and was released soon after the Lancaster House talks in 1979.

After independence, she served the party in various capacities and was also the deputy secretary for women’s affairs in the Zimbabwe Ex-Political Prisoners Detainees Restrictees Association (Zipedra) national executive.

In a statement, Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairperson Cde Jabulani Sibanda said the province had lost one of its illustrious liberation fighters.

“The leadership of Bulawayo Metropolitan province unanimously agreed to request national heroine status for Nelly Dupute who made immense contributions towards the liberation and emancipation of the people,” he said.

The Cde Dupute’s daughter, Ms Lindiwe Dupute (54) said her mother was brave and loved politics.

“She was not just a mother to us only her children, but to everyone that she came into contact with,” she said.

“She loved God. My mother was very brave and she liked politics a lot.

“It did not sit well with her if she saw people being oppressed or denied their freedom and that is how her love for politics got to grow. Sometimes we would get jealous of how she handled her political dealings and how often she would travel.”

Cde Dupute’s niece, Smolly Moyo said after her release from jail by the Smith regime, her health had been failing due to the treatment she got while incarcerated.

“After she was released from jail, she became sick,” she said.

“She used to complain of back pains especially during the rainy season. She then became seriously ill two years back till she passed on.”

In 1980, she was co-opted into the Matabeleland North West province as deputy secretary (ZAWU. Between 1985 and 1986 she became deputy treasurer of Matabeleland North-West province (ZAWU). Soon after the signing the Unity Accord in December 1987, she was part of the integration and became the deputy treasurer of the United Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU PF).

In 1989 Cde Dupute was elected secretary for Transport and Welfare ZANU PF Bulawayo Province (Women’s league).

From 1990 to 2004, she held different posts at the branch and district levels in the Women’s League. Following the dissolution of the province in 2004, she was appointed the interim Vice Chairperson of the Women’s league in Bulawayo Province.

In 2005, she held the position of treasurer of the province and at the end of 2005, she was upgraded to a member of the Central Committee through an election. Throughout her career, the late Cde Dupute was involved in various philanthropic activities such as projects, community health clubs and community development clubs.

The majority of these projects centred on developing women’s skills such as crocheting, sewing and baking.

Cde Dupute is survived by five children, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

— Herald

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