BY NQOBANI NDLOVU AND NKULULEKO SIBANDA
THOUSANDS of people thronged liberation war stalwart Dumiso Dabengwa’s rural home where the former Zipra intelligence supremo was buried yesterday.
Dabengwa, who died on May 22 in Kenya while travelling back home from India where he was being treated for a liver ailment, was described as a hero for southern Africa by high profile mourners from the region.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa sent his Security minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
“He was a commander of the southern African liberation struggle, a child of Africa, a defender of the rights of those who are downtrodden, a defender of the liberation of the people of southern Africa,” Dlodlo told mourners.
“He is a hero not only of the Zimbabwean people, he is a hero not only of the Zimbabwean liberation struggle, but he is a hero of South Africa too.
“He is a hero of the world. His name will reverberate through the skies of Africa.”
Dabengwa was involved in military operations by South Africa’s liberation movement Umkhonto we Sizwe, which operated side by side with Zipra.
Umkonto we Sizwe veterans, South African ruling party ANC members and diplomats attended the funeral in large numbers.
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa was given the chance to address the mourners and he criticised President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who did not attend the funeral.
The mourners booed Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo who spoke on behalf of Mnangagwa.
Zanu PF and government officials, including Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira also received a hostile reception.
Outspoken Ntabazinduna chief, Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni, South Africa’s ruling ANC, Umkhonto weSizwe, Zipra and Zapu members received loud cheers each time they were introduced by the directors of the ceremony.
Zanu PF officials that attended the burial included party spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo, Small to Medium Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni and speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda.
MDC vice-presidents Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti were among the mourners, who also included former vice-president Joice Mujuru and ex-Finance minister Simba Makoni.