|Sithole’s son attacks MDC-T over memorial service|
|Friday, 03 August 2012 00:00|
THE MDC-T’s decision to hold memorial service for the late Zanu-Ndonga leader, Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, has torched a storm with his party and family members distancing themselves from the event.
The event is set for tomorrow in Chipinge.
Zanu-Ndonga president Mr Gondayi Vutuza yesterday accused the MDC-T of snatching the event from his party, while the family said Mr Morgan Tsvangirai was trying to garner “cheap” political mileage.
The MDC-T together with some Zanu- Ndonga officials led by national chairman, Mr Reketayi Semwayo is organising the event.
Rev Sithole died in the United States of America on December 12, 2000.
Mr Garikai Sithole (38), one of the children of the late nationalist, Mr Edison Sithole, lashed out at the MDC-T and its leader for abusing the memorial service to honour the founding Zanu-Ndonga leader.
“I do not have the powers to stop the memorial service but I feel the MDC-T together with Zanu-Ndonga officials are trying to abuse my father’s name to gain cheap political mileage in Chipinge.
“It is clear that the MDC-T just wants to abuse my father’s name by organising this memorial service and as the late Reverend Sithole’s children we want to say we are not happy. Even my other siblings were never consulted together with close members of the Sithole family,’’ said Mr Sithole.
“As the late Reverend Sithole’s child, I am not happy at all that I was never consulted in preparing and organising my father’s (uncle) memorial service which is going to be held on Saturday.
“Somebody wants to hold a memorial service . . . why? What is the motive? It is clear this is a political gimmick,’’ said Mr Sithole.
Mr Sithole said even Zanu-Ndonga did not have the power to organise such an event.
Mr Vutuza said his party was not attending the memorial service.
“We are not saying parties and individuals should not honour Ndabaningi Sithole. What we are saying is we do not want to be used by a party for grandstanding purposes. The people of Chipinge were not consulted, we were not consulted, the executive was not consulted,” he said.
Mr Vutuza said that the family was free to go ahead with the memorial services without abusing the name of the party.
“The people in Chipinge are saying there are a number of cultural activities that need to be done and we wonder how these will be done if the event is turned to a political rally,” said.
Zanu-Ndonga youth secretary Mr Most Chikumba said they were going to discourage people from associating themselves with the event.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora yesterday dismissed the claims saying the memorial service had nothing to do with politics.
“This is just a recognition of an undoubted fighter of this country who was not recognised by Zanu-PF and the Government,” Mr Mwonzora said.
“About the family and some party members not being involved, I am not sure but my understanding is that our organising department consulted them and if there are any who were not consulted it was not intentional. As for Garikai who is Edison Sithole’s son, maybe the organisers didn’t know where he is found.”