No gun salute, honour for suicide war veteran
LIBERATION war hero Cde Joe Moyo who committed suicide last week was buried yesterday without the honour of a gun salute as taking one’s life is considered dishonourable in the military.
Cde Moyo hanged himself from the roof trusses of his house last Friday in Bulawayo’s Pumula South suburb.
He was buried at the Bulawayo Heroes Acre in Nkulumane.
Normally when a war veteran dies the Zimbabwe National Army conducts the burial where the army’s chaplin leads the proceedings before soldiers fire a salvo for the departed member.
However, Cde Moyo’s burial was unusual as soldiers and Government officials who usually grace such burials did not attend.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association Pumula district chairperson Cde Kwanele Ngwenya said the army did not participate in his burial because of the way he died.
“He hanged himself. Therefore it is against the military ethos to give a gun salute honour to someone who committed suicide. In the army committing suicide is an act of cowardice. That’s why there is no one from the uniformed forces represented here,” said Cde Ngwenya.
He urged war veterans to associate with other liberation fighters who can vouch for them when they die.
“We’re having a problem with war veterans that hide that they’re freedom fighters. Is it embarrassing to be known that you’re war veterans? When such people die we’ve problems when their families come and claim that they were war veterans. It becomes difficult because no one knew them,” he said.
Cde Ngwenya said war veterans should tell their own stories by writing clear auto-biographies showing their involvement in the struggle.
He said the biographies will ensure that they are accorded the respect that they deserve.
“The biographies will assist their family members who are supposed to obtain benefits from the State. But without a clear biography their war contributions can be disputed,” he said.