National heroes’ graves vandalised

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DARING thieves have reportedly vandalised and stolen tombstones at the graves of two unnamed national heroes buried at Lady Stanley and Hyde Park cemeteries in Bulawayo, Southern Eye has learnt.

by NQOBILE BHEBHE

Most prominent ex-Zapu politicians and national heroes from Bulawayo and Matabeleland region have been buried at the two cemeteries.

Former Zipra commanders General Lookout Masuku and Ackim Ndlovu, former Matabeleland North governor Welshman Mabhena and former diplomat Isaac Nyathi, Swazini Ndlovu, Masala Sibanda and Wilford Lizzat Sibanda, are some of the heroes buried at the council shrines.

According to the latest council report, the city’s director of health services reported on April 8 this year that they had received a complaint from the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe concerning the desecration of the graves.

In the letter, the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe wanted council to help in providing security at the shrines. However, council indicated that it only provided security for its property at the cemeteries.

“We observed that the graves were scattered and that even if the heroes at Hyde Park Cemetery were exhumed for reburial at West Park/Lady Stanley, the issue of security of the graves would not be addressed,” council said.

“The health services department suggested demarcating an area at the Lady Stanley and at future cemeteries to cater for the burial of 10 to 15 national heroes who may need to be buried at council cemeteries.

“In our view, National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe would be able to fence such an area and provide security as necessary,” council said.

Similar desecrations occurred in 2013 when the graves of heroes Njini Ntuta and Artwell Nelson Bokwe had their headstones and concrete slabs stolen.

Lazarus Mavava Nkala, another national hero who was a close friend to late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, also had his tombstone stolen.