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    Friday, 11 January 2019

    Erect a statue in honour of late Zvobgo

    Eddison Mudadirwa Zvobgo.

    JEFFREYSON CHITANDO/
    MATTHEW TAKAONA

    All over the World, Governments have named streets, buildings, airports and other important infrastructure after great achievers in order to protect legacies.
    The same was done in Zimbabwe after independence but ironically almost everything that the Government could lay its hands on was named after Robert Mugabe, the first post-colonial President of the country.
    Every major road in every town in Zimbabwe is in fascist fashion named after Mugabe; the biggest airport, major buildings, schools, faculty buildings are Robert Mugabe and there is Robert Mugabe Highway from Norton to Murombedzi Growth Point.
    But this is a misnomer and a disgusting distortion of history as Mugabe is not the only politician who made immense contribution to the liberation of this country. In fact such an arrangement is an insult to those who fought the liberation struggle and a shame to all Zimbabweans.
    There are many politicians who made equal sacrifice and suffered detention and exile the same way as Mugabe.
    Some even served more years in prison than Mugabe.
    An obvious example of an overlooked national hero in terms of honour and recognition is Eddison Mudadirwa Zvobgo.He was a brilliant lawyer, a flamboyant politician and an eloquent speaker who gave a face and character to the watershed Lancaster House Conference talks of 1979.
    It’s amazing that Zvobgo does not have even a spoon named after him. Such is the kind of mockery that this nation got from its Government since 1980 and the new dispensation would not be right to leave that kind of arrangement intact.
    There are heroes in many spheres of life; the liberation struggle, academia, sports, education, philanthropy and to say that the only legacy we know and respect is the Mugabe legacy is an insulting fallacy.
    Zvobgo went into detention at the same time with Mugabe between 1963 and they both spent 10 continuous years behind bars. His prison experience was so suffocating that he almost suffered mental break-down. He witnessed the death in prison of Leopold Takawira whose cell was next to his. Zvobgo was in Mozambique for the armed struggle and was the spokesperson for Zanu.
    His presence throughout the struggle was so vivid that he is a politician who is in the league of such nationalists as Dr Joshua Nkomo, Robert Mugabe and Hebert Chitepo. A litany of streets have been named after Chitepo while Nkomo is probably the only politician who survived the war and has been lucky to have a street named after him and his giant statue erected in Bulawayo.
     For some modicum of decency, the Government seriously needs to consider reversing the litany of streets named after Mugabe so that other deserving heroes are also acknowledged. It should be noted that there is no slighting of the tremendous role Mugabe played in the history of this country but naming everything after one man doesn’t give Zimbabwe a good picture.
    In fact it affects the Zimbabwe brand in a negative way.While it might sound regionalist (indeed it is not because even hero status is proposed by regions), it is our call for the people of Masvingo to mobilise resources and honour people of their own area. They should put together funds to erect a statue in Masvingo in honour of the late Eddison Zvobgo.
    Incidentally Zvobgo is the man who fought so hard for the name of the City of Masvingo to be reversed from Nyanda to Masvingo. He wanted the City to take ownership of the Great Zimbabwe Monuments ahead of any other region in the country. He addressed meetings throughout the Province to garner support for the change of the name.
    It is not enough to just erect a statue but a prominent street must be named after this rare breed of a politician.
    It must be borne in mind that Nkomo’s statue in Square in Bulawayo did not come on a silver platter. People of Matabeleland had to make noise and indeed there was resistance from Government until the authorities capitulated.
    We propose that Dr Zvobgo’s statue be erected at or near the corner of Robert Mugabe in the CBD of Masvingo City. In addition, a prominent street in the city or in the capital city in Harare must be named after him.
    Remember Zvobgo is the charismatic politician with the rich quotable quotes before and after the war.
    The City of Masvingo has not one CBD street named after the illustrious sons and daughters of the Province. Even the names of faculty buildings at the Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) are dominated by national heroes from other regions.
    GZU faculty centres are named after the likes of Mugabe (Mugabe School of Education), Chitepo (Herbert Chitepo School of Law) and others.
    Apart from Zvobgo there are many other outstanding achievers from the province who deserve such honour. We have the likes of Simbi Mubako, Hamadziripi, Dr Simon Mazorodze, Simon Muzenda, Sheba Tavarwisa, Josiah Tungamirai, Dzinashe Machingura?
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