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Cyril Ndebele's legacy will endure - Dabengwa

by Dr. Dumiso Dabengwa, ZAPU President
12 Oct 2016 at 17:01hrs | Views
Mrs. Ndebele and the Ndebele family
Church and other Leaders present
Friends, colleagues and fellow mourners
All protocols observed

It is difficult to come to terms with the unexpected death of Advocate Cyril Ndebele, although it is a path we shall all travel. However, over and above this loss I think that I represent many people who feel fortunate that we knew and interacted with such a humble but remarkable man. We are witnesses that In spite of his many achievements he remained accessible and simple.

A conscience of the party and the country
Like many in our generation, Cyril Ndebele got involved in politics as a relatively young man. By 1960 his political direction was well set. While I am personally not aware of a direct relationship between his politics and the decision to become a lawyer, it is clear that in his conduct he did not draw compartments between his politics and his dedication to the rule of law. On the contrary, he used his legal training for the promotion of human rights and for instilling respect for due process in the liberation movement as well as the emerging institutions that were to take the place of the colonial ones in Zimbabwe. He did not shy away from condemning tribalism and racism, regardless of the perpetrator. He carried this outlook in his legal services to ZAPU, both before and during the Lancaster House negotiations for independence. With ZAPU's legendary lawyer Advocate Leo Baron he consistently argued for the Patriotic Front parties to take unequivocal stands against discrimination and type-casting of Zimbabwe's people.

Cyril Ndebele did not prescribe standards for others. He lived by them. Here I wish to pay special tribute to his courage over the decades when it came to taking political and strategic decisions in the party. He was close to the top leaders such as Dr. Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and the late Comrade Jason Ziyapapa Moyo (J.Z.). This did not blunt his frank advice and professional judgment; he always chose to tell truth to power before worrying about whether this would please those who needed his assessment. If ever there was anyone who deserved to be called the conscience of ZAPU he would be top of the list. Indeed, he took this attitude beyond ZAPU and lived by it even as Speaker of Parliament (1995-2000) and when the time came to divorce ZAPU from ZANU-PF. Even when we resumed our independent existence he did not stop to speak out for what he thought should be done. He was thus the conscience of our party but also arguably the conscience of Zimbabwe. I would like to believe that when he was appointed Chairman of the Peace and Reconciliation Commission in February 2016 it was in recognition of his high personal and professional integrity and fearless commitment to human rights and human dignity. It is sad that Cyril Ndebele has left us when he had just started the work of dealing with the festering wounds of injustice while building a culture of peace and reconciliation. We hope that a suitable successor will be found who can help the country move from official impunity towards responsible use of state monopoly of the instruments of force.

Take a stand against impunity in honour of Cyril Ndebele
In conclusion, it is sad but a nice feeling to send off someone who has stuck to high moral standards in politics and his profession. Cyril Ndebele's entry into politics was inevitable because he could not stand by while political and economic were being trampled upon by the racist regimes in Southern Africa. That is why he joined the ANC, the National Democratic Party (NDP), its successor ZAPU. His support for the decision to embark on armed resistance in order to free Zimbabwe came naturally because war was a means to an end. He was not among those who sought to transfer arbitrary power from the whites to the blacks but worked for a state governed by the rule of law. It would be a fitting tribute to Cyril Ndebele to uphold these high ideals that so many of our young people sacrificed for.

I would like to offer my condolences and those of ZAPU's leadership and entire membership to Cyril Ndebele's wife and children, and to members of the larger Ndebele family.

May His Soul Rest in Peace

Source - Zapu