Zimbabwe’s Independence Hero Dies
Peta Thornycroft |
Edgar Tekere, one of Zimbabwe’s heroes in the fight for independence, who
stopped his former ally President Robert Mugabe from establishing a one
party state, died Tuesday.
Tekere was widely regarded as a key leader in the military and civil
struggle against minority white rule and for denouncing corruption after
Edgar Tekere was a founding member of the party which went on to be known as
Zanu PF and was its secretary-general at the time of Zimbabwe’s independence
in 1980. He later became Minister of Labor and Man-Power Planning in
During the struggle against white minority rule, he had served ten years in
prison with the future president Robert Mugabe in what was then known as
Ten years after independence Tekere had been expelled from Zanu PF and ran
against and lost heavily to Mugabe in presidential elections.
But many analysts credit Tekere with preventing Mugabe from declaring
Zimbabwe a one party state.
Since then, and at every opportunity, Tekere claimed Mugabe had deviated
from the aims of the liberation struggle. He accused his former colleagues
in Zanu PF of corruption, of betraying democracy, and of mismanaging the
Two years ago he was guest of honor at a rally for the Movement for
Democratic Change party, now in an uncomfortable inclusive government with
Tekere had been ill for several years, and died as a poor man in a hospital
in his home town, Mutare, in eastern Zimbabwe.
Under debate now within Zimbabwe is whether Tekere will be buried as a hero
at the largely Zanu PF Heroes Acre in Harare.