OPPOSITION Zapu has slammed late Zanu PF politburo member Absalom Sikhosana for being a “useless and harmless” man who did not deserve to be conferred with the highest honour of the land.
Sikhosana, who was Zanu PF acting chair for Bulawayo province, died in the city aged 70 on Saturday from prostate cancer as well as arthritis.
Following his demise, President Emmerson Mnangagwa unilaterally declared him national hero, breaking from the usual tradition in which the politburo makes the determination.
However, the party formerly led by once revered late ex-minister Dumiso Dabengwa did not have any kind words for its one-time secretary general.
Zapu spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said there was no point of honouring a man who was putty in the hands of an abusive Zanu PF led regime.
“This one is not for the people, he belongs to Zanu PF and let them honour each other away from the suffering masses.
“Having been a harmless and unambitious member of Zanu PF, absolutely useless to his people’s cause and development, he can only be rewarded in death,” said Maphosa.
The Zapu spokesperson said his party was vindicated in continued claims the national heroes status was the preserve of former Zanla and Zanu PF members only.
The city council owned Lady Stanley Cemetery has now become a de-facto Heroes Acre for ZIPRA veterans who have been denied the honour by the Zanu PF led government.
Some of the Zapu and Zipra cadres who have been interred at the cemetery include Lookout Masuku, Welshman Mabhena, Isaac Nyathi, Swazini Ndlovu, Richard Dube and Ethan Dube.
“It vindicates us when we always say the declaration of heroes is another of many ways Zanu PF recognises and thanks its puppets and sell-outs especially those former Zapu members who are being used against what they once stood for and in advancing the ruling party’s policy of patronage.
“Honour is earned and bestowed by people. It is never declared by an individual,” added Maphosa.
Also commenting on Sikhosana, prominent Bulawayo human rights activist, Samukeli Khumalo described the former Zanu PF youth league boss as a helpless and useless person.
“I come from a region of honest critics. This is how tata Sikhosana’s legacy is being summed up: Blameless, Harmless, Helpless and Useless. MHSRIP,” wrote Khumalo on his Facebook Wall.
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda accused Zanu PF of devaluing national heroes as well as the National Heroes Acre by only declaring its loyalists national heroes and heroines.
“Unfortunately, the national shrine and our national heroes have been dismembered and devalued,” he said.
“Zanu PF has destroyed the whole thing. It has no value anymore.
“Zanu PF has destroyed all national institutions and Zimbabweans must reclaim our country, brick by brick and day by day.”
According to Zanu PF’s Secretary for Administration, Obert Mpofu, Sikhosana will be buried at the Heroes Acre on a date still to be advised.
He is survived by wife, Jelina Dube Sikhosana, five children and six grandchildren.
Mourners are gathered at his home, Number 3115 Nkulumane 5, Bulawayo.