ZANU-PF founding member and former Defence and Home Affairs Minister Enos Nkala and Air Commodore (Retired) Mike Karakadzai, who died this week, have been declared national heroes.
Karakadzai died in a car crash on Tuesday on his way to Bulawayo, while Nkala died the following day at a private clinic in Harare.
Speaking to journalists after the party’s Politburo meeting in Harare last night, Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity Rugare Gumbo said the burial of the two heroes was tentatively set for tomorrow.
“We were looking at the status of the two people who have died in the last few days. We were looking at the death of Cde Enos Nkala, one of those gallant fighters of the nationalist struggle and we also looked at Air Cdre Mike Karakadzai, general manager of the National Railways of Zimbabwe.
“Both of them have been unanimously endorsed as qualifying for national hero status and will be buried at the national shrine.
“We still need to talk to the families, but the consensus is that perhaps they should be buried on Sunday morning largely because of the commitments that His Excellency has in the next few days. But we are still going to consult with the families.”
Gumbo said national hero status was bestowed upon the two in recognition of the role they played during the liberation struggle.
“They made a major contribution first of all to the liberation of Zimbabwe as well as developing the country,” he said.
“For instance, in the case of Enos Nkala, he was the founder of the National Democratic Party as well as Zimbabwe African National Union in 1960 and 1963, respectively.
“They were incarcerated and harassed together with His Excellency (President Mugabe) in Sikombela, Harare and many other places, so it was felt that he deserved to be considered as a national hero.
“As for Air Cdre Karakadzai, he was a Zanla fighter in Mozambique and he came back and he was in the Air Force of Zimbabwe and later joined the National Railways of Zimbabwe. He did a superb job at NRZ. He died while he was re-organising the National Railways of Zimbabwe.”
Employees of the NRZ will not be mourning his death with several said to be celebrating as soon as news of his death broke. Under his corrupt mismanagement of the parastatal, NRZ workers went for months without pay resulting in the wives of many employees even joining demonstrations.
Karakadzai was one of 200 senior army officers deployed countrywide in the run up to the June 2008 presidential election and helped coordinate the brutal murder of over 500 opposition supporters after Mugabe had lost the first round of the election to Morgan Tsvangirai.
Nkala was one of the founders of Zanu as the party was formed at his house, 4449 Highfield, Harare, in 1963. He was the party’s first treasurer and held the post until his resignation from politics. During the war, he served in the party’s high command.
Nkala was detained at Gonakudzingwa for 12 years with leaders such as Ndabaningi Sithole, Leopold Takawira, Edgar Tekere, Maurice Nyagumbo, all late, and President Mugabe.
At independence in 1980, Nkala became the Minister of Finance until 1983 when he was moved to the Ministry of National Supplies. In 1985, he became Minister of Home Affairs, and then moved over to Defence after the 1985 elections.