Online Editor – Stanford Chiwanga

Updates – Nduduzo Tshuma

Photographer – Elia Saushoma

12:45 – This brings us to the end of the funeral service.

12:30 – Minister Ncube now leads the body viewing procession…

12:25 – A ZNA helicopter flies in to collect the body of Cde Sikhosana ahead of his burial at the National Heroes Acre in Harare tomorrow.

12:20 – Minister Ncube concludes her address

12:17 – She says the President heard the cries of Bulawayo about the water crisis. She says engineers are busy on the ground to avert the water crisis.

She pays tribute to President Mnangagwa for pushing for a speedy solution to address the water challenges in Bulawayo.

She also pays tribute to Cdes Tshinga Dube, Angeline Masuku and Joshua Malinga for taking a lead in the funeral of Cde Sikhosana.

She says an initial decision was that Cde Sikhosana be buried in Bulawayo but the national leadership had seen it fit that he be buried at the National Shrine.

12:16 – Minister Ncube pays tribute to the Zanu-PF party membership for assisting his family.

12:15 – Bulawayo Minister for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Cde Judith Ncube takes to the podium. She says Cde Sikhosana fought a good fight and duly deserved to be accorded a Hero Status.

“I worked With Cde Sikhosana since 1981 until today, and it was a blessing to have worked with him all these years. On the day he was admitted in hospital he called me asking for assistance as he was struggling to get out of his car. Little did I know that he was saying goodbye. We called the doctors to immediately assist him. When we visited him he said Sisi thank you, you saved my life. Little did we know that it was towards the end.

12:05 – Cde Matemadanda concludes his address

12:04 – He says Bulawayo has suffered a double tragedy as it no longer has a chairperson and President Mnangagwa will make an announcement of a replacement after the Burial of Cde Sikhosana. He says the lasting solution would be to have provincial elections to install leadership and the process will be done after the Covid-19 pandemic.

12:02 – Cde Matemadanda turns to living Heroes. He says he was meant to visit senior war veterans with regard to their welfare. He says the Government is working on something to look into their welfare.

12:00 – He says Cde Sikhosana led efforts to ensure food security. Cde Matemadanda assures nation that no one will die of hunger. He says in the distribution of food everyone will benefit regardless of party affiliation.

He says after Zanu-PF romped to victory in 2018, it became the responsibility of Government to take care of every Zimbabwean. He recognises the presence of Cde Mutsvangwa who is among the mourners.

11:58 – Cde Matemadanda said it was automatic that Cde Sikhosana is a hero par excellence.

He says Cde Sikhosana from the time he joined the liberation struggle never veered off the road and became a remarkable leader post-Independence from the time he was youth leader.

“When the provincial structures of Bulawayo were dissolved it was discussed that Cde Sikhosana be the coordinating chairperson of the province.”

Cde Matemadanda said despite illness Cde Sikhosana actively participated in party programmes.

11:54 – Next to speak is Cde Matemadanda….

He says the party has lost a gallant fighter, leader, teacher motivator and a true nationalist. From the time that he joined the liberation struggle he never looked back. He fulfills the definition of a hero. He was persistent and consistent and for that I think he deserved the National Hero status.

11:52 – The programme starts with a representative of the Sikhosana family taking to the podium. The representative thanks Government and President Mnangagwa for the assistance rendered to the family after the death of Cde Sikhosana. He also thanks Bulawayo province for the support the family received.

11:30 – Also among the mourners is Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association chairperson Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa

11:19 – In attendance are senior Zanu-PF officials including national political commissar Cde Victor Matemadanda, Politburo Member Cde Angeline Masuku, acting Zanu-PF secretary for youth affairs Cde Tendai Chirau among other senior party leaders

11:15 – The body of National Hero Cde Absolom Sikhosana has arrived at the White City Stadium B Arena for a funeral service.

PREAMBLE

NATIONAL hero Cde Absolom Sikhosana will be buried tomorrow at the National Heroes Acre in Harare after a memorial service which is being held at White City Stadium in Bulawayo now.

His body lay in state at his residence in Nkulumane suburb yesterday night following his death last Friday at the United Bulawayo Hospitals.

This morning, Cde Sikhosana’s body was flown to his farm in Inyathi.

Join us for live updates from White City Stadium.