By Mutsa Makuvaza
ZANU PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa has revealed that a committee has been set up to come up with procedures for the according of hero status to football legends and Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry has been tasked with formulation of the procedures.
This emerged at the end of the 359th Ordinary Session of the Zanu PF Politburo, held this Wednesday at the party’s headquarters in Harare. Zanu PF has traditionally accorded national hero status to politicians, although musicians such as Simon Chimbetu, Oliver Mtukudzi and Soul Jah Love got accorded hero statuses.
Of late, academics such as the late NUST Vice Chancellor and former ZIMSEC chairperson Professor Phineas Makhurane were also declared heroes. But there has been a glaring lack of sports people who were declared national heroes.
According to Mutsvangwa, the debate in the Politburo was triggered by the recent passing on of veteran football administrator Ndumiso Gumede.
Gumede, who had an outstanding teaching and football management career, died last week Wednesday was yesterday laid to rest in his rural home area of Inyathi in Matabeleland North province, 60km northeast of Bulawayo.
Said Mutsvangwa: “Ndumiso Gumede… the man was very popular in soccer and this discussion saw the setting up of a special committee to holistically look into those issues regarding soccer.
“Gumede did a thorough job to trigger a very important discussion particularly soccer, something will happen soon. We don’t want to overlook people such as George Shaya and many others, so Minister Kirsty Coventry will do that work,” he said.
Five time Soccer Star of the Year and Zimbabwe’s most celebrated soccer legend George ‘Mastermind’ Shaya died in August aged 77. He was not declared a national hero.
Meanwhile, former judge and Zanu PF Central Committee Member Kennedy Sibanda, who died on the 22nd of last month in South Africa, has been declared a national hero.
Mutsvangwa made the announcement after Politburo deliberations.
“Advocate Kennedy Sibanda is our new National Hero, He was a legal adviser to the ZAPU delegation and his pedigree is sterling, he became a judge,” Mutsvangwa said.
The hero status comes after Bulawayo Province requested for the Politburo to reward Sibanda citing his contributions to the country’s Judiciary and legal development.