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Obituary of former Speaker of Parliament – Cyril Ndebele

By Buhle Tshavango

Former clerk of Parliament Advocate Cyril Enoch Ndebele was laid to rest yesterday after succumbing to an undisclosed ailment on October 7 in Harare.

Cde Ndebele who died at the age of 83 served as the speaker of Parliament since 1995 to 2000, during his tenure he created the Parliamentary reform committee opening the way for reforms in the legislative assembly.

Cde Ndebele joined the African National Congress in South Africa in 1960 whilst still a student at the University of Natal. He graduated with a degree in law at Queens University in Belfast, Ireland, in 1970 and upon return to Zimbabwe became chairperson of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU).

He was later appointed ZAPU’s United Kingdom and European representative in 1975 and participated in the historic Geneva, Malta and Lancaster House negotiations that led to independence.

At independence, Ndebele went into private practice and also became a local councillor in Bulawayo. After the signing of the unity accord in 1987 he became a Member of Parliament in 1990 and was appointed the privileges committee and the Parliamentary legal committee.

In 1995 he rose to be speaker of Parliament.

At the time of his death he was the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) chairperson and had served barely seven months in this office.

Cde Ndebele is said to have been airlifted from Mater Dei hospital in Bulawayo to Harare after his condition had deteriorated

He was buried yesterday, 12 October at his Denver farm in Umguza Bulawayo.

Heal Zimbabwe Trust issued a statement on his passing saying his death  further derailed the operationalization of the commission.

“Heal Zimbabwe laments that it’s very unfortunate that Ndebele has passed on without having started to execute his duties due to non-operationalization of the NPRC by the government. Furthermore, the withdrawal of the NPRC bill from Parliament by the Ministry of National Healing  alone  is not enough but government must take necessary steps  to ensure that the NPRC is set up without delay.

Heal Zimbabwe calls for the speeding up of the finalization of another NPRC bill, one that must have the input of various stakeholders who include victims, citizens, government and civic society. Heal Zimbabwe further implores government to expeditiously start processes that lead to the enactment of the law and the effective operationalization of the NPRC. The President must also move in to appoint a replacement for Ndebele as it helps to speed up the process of national healing and reconciliation. “read the statement.

The veteran politician is reported to have fallen out of favour and subsequently displaced from his position after issuing a parliamentary certificate advising the ruling party not to discipline the then ruling party Masvingo chairperson Dzikamai Mavhaire for asking the President to step down during a Parliamentary debate.

This act labelled him a deviant for protecting Mavhaire and in 2000 he was replaced by the now Vice President of the country, Honourable Emmerson Mnangagwa.

While speculations were rife on whether or not he would be given a hero status , Cde Ndebele was accorded a state funeral which saw his family getting USD $10 000 for the funeral assistance by Government.

Cde Cyril Enoch Ndebele is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.

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