It never rains but it pours for Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as the family of the late Zanu Ndonga leader Ndabaningi Sithole has reacted angrily to his statements insinuating the nationalist was a sellout.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Sithole family said the remarks were in bad taste and distorted the history of the country’s liberation struggle.

“Whether the Honourable Vice-President’s statements were taken out of context or not, whether those were his views or not or Ian Smith’s views, we feel that it is important for Zimbabweans to appreciate and acknowledge that people may have differing accounts on how the liberation struggle was waged and what could have been done better or what was not done at all,” the family said.

“We feel that it is even more important that all Zimbabweans appreciate and acknowledge the roles played by many nationalists still with us and those gone.”

Mnangagwa, in a recent interview with New African magazine, reportedly claimed Smith had told him Sithole, the late former Vice-President Joshua Nkomo and other nationalists lost the 1980 elections because they represented minority whites’ interests.

Sithole was deposed as Zanu leader in the mid-70s at the height of an internal power struggle that claimed several lives during the brutal bush war against colonialism.

Sithole’s family said countless nationalists fought for an independent Zimbabwe,“and so the legacy left [or to be left] by these nationalists, we are adamant, should be shared amongst us all as patriotic Zimbabweans”.

Sithole, according to the family, wrote among other books, African Nationalism, The Fight for Zimbabwe’s Independence, Letters from Salisbury Prison, Obed Mutezo:The Mudzimu Christian Nationalist and Frelimo Militant: The Story of Ingwane from Mozambique, An Ordinary Yet Extraordinary Man, Awakened.

“These books give Zimbabweans the opportunity to enter into the mind of a patriotic Zimbabwean, who like many other thousands, sacrificed all he had to fight a just cause that would lead to the freedom of the people he so much

Nkomo’s family and other former top PF-Zapu officials have demanded Mnangagwa publicly apologise over the statement.

Bulawayo residents have also threatened to boycott or picket the Vice-President’s consultative meetings when he travels to the city in two weeks’ time. Mnangagwa has so far not commented on the furore. newsday

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