Harare – The former Speaker of Parliament and chairperson of the National Peace and Reconciliation Chairperson Cyril Ndebele has died.
Ndebele is known for his fell with Mugabe when he issued a parliamentary certificate advising Zanu PF that it should not discipline then ruling party Masvingo chairperson Dzikamai Mavhaire for asking Mugabe to step down. Mugabe called Ndebele a traitor and replaced him in 2000 with now Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
He passed on yesterday morning in Bulawayo. The cause of his death could not be ascertained.
Zapu deputy national spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa said Ndebele immensely contributed to the growth of their party, both before and after the 1987 Unity Accord with Zanu PF.
“Zapu joins the Ndebele family and the nation in mourning the passing-on of the great leader and lawyer. We, however, take comfort in the legacy he leaves behind — that of selfless and upright leadership and service to both Zapu and Zimbabwe,” Maphosa said.
“Advocate Ndebele leaves a rich legacy of leadership both in Zapu and the nation, a history we will forever cherish, emulate and safeguard by advancing his long held beliefs of good political and leadership practices as espoused in the mother party, Zapu.”
At the time of his death, Ndebele was chairperson of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission that was sworn in by President Mugabe in February this year.
Ndebele became Parliament Speaker in 1995 before he was fired after objecting the removal of Dzikamai Mavhaire in Zanu PF.
Ndebele joined the African National Congress in South Africa in 1960 while a student at the University of Natal. He acquired a law degree from Queens University in Belfast, Ireland, in 1970 and on return to Zimbabwe became chairperson of Zapu.
In 1975, he became Zapu’s United Kingdom and European representative. He was involved 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.