Edson Ncube: A strong fighter against oppression

Veteran politician, ZANU-PF Politburo member and Deputy Secretary for Administration, Cde Edson Ncube succumbed to anaemia on Sunday, April 30, 2012 at Mpilo Central Hospital. He was 74. Born on December 28, 1938 in Matshudula Village under Chief Gampu in Tsholotsho District of Matabeleland North Province, Cde Ncube was the only child in his family.

He did his Sub A and Sub B at Ngungubane Primary School in Mberengwa and later moved back to his original home to do Standard 1 and 2 at Matshudula Primary School and Standard 3 at Siphepha Primary School.

Later on, he moved to Bulawayo’s Luveve Primary School where he continued with his primary education up to Standard 6.
From 1956 to 1958, Cde Ncube studied carpentry at Inyathi and Hope Fountain Missions, graduating with a Certificate of Carpentry from the Institute of Carpentry (EIC).

Later on, he attained the GCE Ordinary Level through private studies.
He taught at Daramombe Mission in Chikomba in 1959 and moved to Bulawayo where he taught at Mpumelelo Primary School from 1960 to 1965.
He transferred to Maphisa Primary School where he taught from 1966 to 1969. Cde Ncube joined Boka Group’s Bulawayo operations in 1983 as a sales representative.

At Boka, he excelled to become a branch manager for the whole group in Bulawayo and later, the company’s marketing manager for Matabeleland.
He rose further to become the man in charge of the whole of Boka group’s marketing operations in the Midlands and Masvingo provinces.

The late hero, who joined the African National Congress in February 1959, often reminisced how while working as a schoolteacher at Daramombe that same year, he was confronted by two Rhodesian policemen who demanded to know the relationship that he enjoyed with the banned ANC.
“That kicked off my political career,” the late hero would vividly remember.

At various stages of his political life, Cde Ncube was active in different nationalist movements ranging from the National Democratic Party (NDP), Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), People’s Caretaker Council and the African National Congress (ANC-Z).

Following the banning of the NDP by the Rhodesians in 1960, Cde Ncube was heavily involved in political activism which took place at Bulawayo’s Stanley Hall.

Between 1962 and 1966, he chaired the Gwaai Development Association, a wing of ZAPU, working closely with Cde John Landa Nkomo, later Vice-President of Zimbabwe.

In 1972, he was elected Publicity Secretary for the Matabeleland North Province of the ANC.
A victim of Rhodesian settler brutalities under the Law and Order Maintenance Act on several occasions, Cde Edson Ncube was first arrested in 1965 while working as a teacher in Maphisa for resisting Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI).

He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. Cde Ncube languished in prison for another good three years (1969-1972) at Khami Prison following his rejection of the referendum for the republican status for Rhodesia.
He was also heavily involved in mobilising the masses to vote against the Pearce Commission in 1972, which the Africans resoundingly rejected.

The British had proposed an independence settlement in which Britain’s legal recognition for Rhodesia would be predicated on a slow progress towards black majority rule to which there was no set time scale.

The late national hero was also set to suffer restriction and further detention at the hands of the Rhodesians between 1975 and 1977.
He was confined to a radius of 15 miles from the main Bulawayo Post Office for his part in recruiting freedom fighters and for other political transgressions.

For continuing to recruit people for military training and his association with freedom fighters such as Cdes Andrew Ndiweni and John Maluzo Ndlovu, he was punished by further detention at Marandellas (now Marondera) Prison from 1977 to the ceasefire in 1979.

Cde Edson Ncube boasts an illustrious post-Independence political career. He was elected Provincial Publicity Secretary of ZAPU from 1980 until 1984 and subsequently the Party’s Provincial Chairman from 1984 to 1989.

Following the Unity Accord signed between PF-Zapu and Zanu-PF in December 1987, Cde Ncube was appointed Co-Chairman of the Matabeleland North Province Integration Taskforce created to marry the structures of PF-Zapu and Zanu-PF into the united ZANU-PF Party.

At the historic Unity Accord of 1987, Cde Ncube was elected into the Central Committee and later appointed Deputy National Secretary for the Commissariat and Culture, a position he held until 1989.

In 1990, Cde Ncube was elected Member of Parliament for Mpopoma (1990-1995) and appointed member of the Standing Committee on Service Ministries. He acted as the Committee’s chairman on three occasions.

He was also chairman of the Standing Committee on Government Assurances from 1993 to 1995, as well as being a member of the Indigenisation Committee.

In 1998, Cde Ncube was elected chairman of Zanu-PF Bulawayo Province and in 2001 he served in the Interim Committee of Bulawayo Province till the July 2004 elections when he was elected as a Provincial Committee member.

On November 20, 2004, Cde Ncube, was elected as a Central Committee member of ZANU-PF and served in the party’s political and policy, legal and security standing committees.

Cde Ncube was popularly known as “Zulu” or “Size 17” due to his unwavering stance on the need to respect party principles.
He was also active in civic matters championing the cause of Mpopoma and Matshobana residents in Bulawayo.

Between 1983 and 1985, he was the organising secretary of the Bulawayo United Residents Association and a member of the Mpopoma-Matshobana Residents Association, which he later chaired.

During his tenure, he successfully negotiated the transfer of the National Railways of Zimbabwe houses to sitting tenants.
He also became deputy secretary of the Mpopoma Residents Association in 1995.

As the director of works and buildings in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the late hero spearheaded the acquisition of the church Mpopoma/Iminyela stand and at the time of his death, he was at the forefront of mobilising resources for the construction of a new church building.

Cde Ncube was also a successful commercial farmer in Nyamandlovu District.
The leadership of the party, Zanu-PF, declared Cde Edson Ncube a national hero because of his illustrious record of service before and after independence.

At the time of his death, Cde Ncube was survived by five children; four boys and one girl, three grandchildren.