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ZAPU founder Dlomo dies aged 89

By Correspondent

ONE of the founders of the original PF-ZAPU Aaron Mloyiswa Nkosi Ndabambi Dlomo has died aged 89, it has been reported.

Dlomo, a veteran politician, trade unionist died in a Bulawayo hospital on Saturday.

The leader of the revived Zapu, Dumiso Dabengwa says he wants Dlomo to be declared a national hero for his role in the struggle for Zimbabwe.

“We will present his case and see what can be done,” he said.

“What status can be given to him? Certainly, it should be taken into account that he is a hero because of all the work he did during the struggle for independence.

“As for now, his family wishes that he is buried at his plot in Kensington and we will deal with this stuff of status after his burial.

“We valued him a lot.

“On the 1st of July, he attended the Joshua Nkomo commemorations where he had called me and asked to make an appearance and I was happy that he was able to make a few remarks.

“When he was there, he told youths to take time and follow what was fought for in the struggle for independence, little did we know that he was saying goodbye.

“He was a man who always looked for Zapu. He came forward even in his old age and offered himself at all times, he always showed how committed he was and this is a big loss to us.”

A close relative and former workmate Zephaniah Nkomo said Dlomo would be buried at his plot in Kensington today.

“He was ailing for a long time and suffered from a number of diseases, his health did not improve,” Nkomo said.

“It is sad that this great man has passed on. He was brave and challenged white oppression where he succeeded in abolishing the colour bar and the Master-Servant Act.”

Dlomo joined the British South Africa Police (BSAP) in the 1940s and fought in World War Two under the British forces.

He was stationed at the State House of the then governor of Rhodesia and was later transferred to the main Bulawayo Railway Station police post.

Dlomo resigned from the BSAP due to racial discrimination and joined the Rhodesian Railways Union where he was elected president in the 1950s.

Under his presidency he had the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo as his secretary-general.

During his term of office, he convinced the company to train and employ the first black train drivers and made black railway employees win the rent-to-buy houses, later on full ownership.

He was also leader of the Railways African Workers’ Union (Rawu) and later formed the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress (ANC) together with the late Nkomo and was part of the first executive committee of Zapu at its formative stages.

Dlomo was detained during the Ian Smith regime and suffered several other detentions together with other nationalist leaders at Khami Prison and Gonakudzingwa before he went into exile.

He became the first black councillor winning elections in the exclusively white Kwekwe Town Council where a street in Amaveni township was named after him.

The veteran nationalist is survived by his wife, Ruth Masuku, three children, a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.