Sibanda castigates Njelele 'renegades'
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In a telephone interview with the state controlled media, The Chronicle, Sibanda is said to have distanced his association from the group and said as an association they do not have such a programme.
"As an association of war veterans, we do not have a programme of that nature. The association I lead is not part of such a programme. Right now I am in Hurungwe doing revolutionary programmes," said Sibanda.
"Even during the liberation struggle we never heard of guerillas who went to Njelele because that was the duty of the elders. We still have the elders in our midst and nothing has changed today. The people who are doing this are renegades. They are lying."
Sibanda's remarks come amid displeasure by villagers and chiefs from Matabeleland South over the recent visit to Njelele by people believed to be war veterans who reportedly performed unsanctioned rituals.
Njelele shrine is situated in Matobo District.
The chiefs felt the development was undermining their authority and causing commotion in the province.
Sibanda castigated those who visited the shrine and said war veterans were people who held traditional leaders in high esteem and would not dare conduct any rituals without their approval.
He said during the struggle guerillas never approached an area without consulting the local leadership, usobhuku (village head), headman or chief.
"We did not do anything without involving or the blessing of community leaders. If we did that during the war we still conduct ourselves that way today.
"The two erstwhile liberation parties, Zapu and Zanu, were formed under the umbrella guidance of chiefs because it was the chiefs whose land was taken away by the imperialists. It is the traditional leaders, the chiefs, who brought the nationalists together. The chiefs have always been ahead of us all in championing the liberation struggle," said Sibanda.
"As it is, President Mugabe is moving around the country giving community shares to chiefs and not to politicians. The liberation struggle and the peace we have as a country is pinned on the existence and respect given to our chiefs. If the Head of State is doing that on an economic basis, then somebody should be out of step to disrespect chiefs. These are not the attributes of war veterans."
Turning to alleged "insulting" words uttered by the visitors to chiefs, Sibanda said no one should undermine chiefs as they are the epicentre of the liberation struggle and epitomise societal moral and cultural values.
It is alleged that the group of visitors went to Mozambique sometime ago where they toured places where liberation war fighters died and were buried during the liberation struggle.
The group reportedly picked up some stones from the mass graves, which they brought to Njelele intending to conduct cleansing rituals as they claimed to be haunted by the spirits of the dead.
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