Zanu-PF denied Lesabe the status, which it admitted she deserved, arguing that ‘she was not consistent’ because she had left to rejoin Zapu.
Baleka Mbete, ANC chairperson yesterday told thousands who attended Lesabe’s burial at her farm in Fort Rixon, that the Zapu Council of Elders chairperson was an example of a true leader.
“We need good leadership, leaders who are not concerned about themselves and their families only but are concerned, even about the future generations.
“We need to work hard to take our people out of hardships and lead them into the future.
“We will not be here in the next 30 years, but as leaders we should be able to take the whole of Southern Africa and Africa beyond where we are.
“I learnt that from Lesabe as we were fighting for liberation. We must learn from the book of Lesabe’s life,” she said.
Mbete said Lesabe was a natural leader whose obituary should be turned into a book for Africans to learn from.
“Every paragraph of her obituary must be made a book.
“Lesabe was a natural leader, a heroine in her own right. She was not only a Zimbabwean hero but her efforts are known beyond Zimbabwe.
“We have a lot to learn from the late Lesabe as people of Zimbabwe, South Africa and Africa as a whole as she was a true African heroine. She had true natural quality leadership qualities,” she added.
On Friday, Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa said his party will be forced to exhume the bodies of former Zapu cadres buried at the national Heroes’ Acre in Harare.
Dabengwa was addressing mourners at Lesabe’s memorial service held at a fully packed Large City Hall on Friday afternoon.
“Zapu reserves its right, if this continues, to call upon all those Zapu families who have their dead buried at the Heroes Acre, to have them exhumed.
“We will not tolerate anyone insulting our leaders after all the contribution that they have made to the liberation struggle.
“We will ask for the remains of Mqabuko (Joshua Nkomo) so that we can take them to Kezi’s Nyongolo village where they rightfully belong,” Dabengwa said.
Lesabe, who died aged 79, was buried at her Fort Rixon farm in Matabeleland South.
Over 1000 mourners from across the political divide, ambassadors, civil society activists, relatives and ordinary Zimbabweans attended the burial.
Zanu-PF chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo and MDC president, Welshman Ncube also described Lesabe as an undisputed heroine.
Lesabe died soon after she was removed from the United States sanctions list, as according to the US Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control.
The former cabinet minister held several posts within Zanu PF and the government after the Unity Accord in 1980.