The Western region that he was in charge of covers Bulawayo, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South as well as Midlands.
Cde Ntuliki died at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo on Friday night after having been unwell for some time. His sister, Mrs Belta Sibanda nee Ntuliki confirmed his death.
“He died on Friday at Mater Dei Hospital at 8.30pm, he was ill for a while. As of October last year he was in and out of hospital but he succumbed to the illness on Friday night,” said Mrs Sibanda.
Mrs Sibanda said Cde Ntuliki was the family’s pillar who never hesitated to assist where there was a need.
“He assisted everyone in the family, he was a great brother to us. It is such a huge loss,” she said.
As news of the death of the senior intelligence officer and former freedom fighter filtered through, condolence messages started pouring in with many describing him as a true revolutionary who served his people during the liberation struggle and after Independence with distinction. The Minister of Welfare Services, for War Veterans, War Collaborators, former Political Detainees and Restrictees, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, said Cde Ntuliki was a hard working man who served the country well before and after Independence.
“He was a very hard working cadre who joined the struggle and was working on the intelligence side. We have lost a dedicated man indeed,” said Rtd Col Dube.
The former Zipra chief of military intelligence, Retired Brigadier-General Abel Mazinyane said although Cde Ntuliki joined the armed struggle at a tender age of 15 he soldiered on and kept pace during the rigorous guerilla training at Morogoro Camp, Tanzania in 1976.
“He was part of the group of 800 which was the first biggest group to undergo training when Zipra was still building its force.
Before that the biggest group that had undergone training was made up of 137 recruits. However, more bigger groups followed immediately after that made up of thousands of recruits,” said Rtd Brig-Gen Mazinyane.
He said after completing the guerilla training, Cde Ntuliki was inducted to the Military Intelligence Department at CGT Camp where he worked as a security officer under the wing of Cde Busobenyoka who had trained with Minister Kembo Mohadi. The CGT Camp was under the command of the current Zimbabwe National Army commander, Lt-General Philip Valerio Sibanda.
“Cde Ntuliki was later on sent for specialised training in intelligence in Bulgaria and he was the leader of his group, a situation that I am made to understand surprised our Bulgarian hosts as to why such a young man could be made a leader of a group with far much older people. This was because he joined the armed struggle at a tender age and also had a small frame. But he was a witty character,” said Rtd Brig-Gen Mazinyane.
He said during the armed struggle Cde Ntuliki like any intelligence officer was assigned on dangerous missions but managed to carry them with aplomb.
“Like any intelligence person he was sent to dangerous situations and in some cases armed only with his wits but he did his job well,” said Rtd Brig-Gen Mazinyane.
Another former colleague in the armed struggle, Cde Fred Mutandah, who was the head of security in the late Vice-President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo’s Office in Zambia described Cde Ntuliki’s death as a sad loss to the country. Cde Mutandah said Cde Ntuliki distinguished himself as a thorough operative during the armed struggle who never left anything to chance.
“Zenzo or Maphekapheka as we called him during the armed struggle was a senior war veteran. He was younger in terms of age then but was senior in the struggle. Although we were later on to become his seniors in terms of hierarchy he still was a senior cadre having joined the armed struggle ahead of us. He distinguished himself as a capable operative when our unit was transformed into a professional entity under the newly constituted then, the National Security Organisation (NSO) and that was during the later stages of the struggle,” said Cde Mutandah.
“He came from the Military Intelligence Department (MID) to work in the NSO. We worked closely together in that crack unit that provided security to the late VP Dr Nkomo who then was the Zapu President and Commander-In-Chief of the Zipra forces. On the social side of things he was a quiet person but when it came to his duties he did what he was supposed to do with diligence and thoroughly for that matter. He was someone who you could depend upon. When we got our Independence in 1980 he was integrated into the President’s Department with other ex-Zipra cadres and they went on to serve the State and the leadership loyally and professionally.”
Gwanda Central representative in the National Assembly, Cde Eddison Gumbo described Cde Ntuliki’s death as a great loss of brilliant brains in the functions of the State security.
“As you know he served for a long time in the State security, he was very knowledgeable and worked well for the State and the party as a cadre. It’s a great loss of brilliant brains that the people of this country, Matabeleland South and his family have suffered. We send our sincere condolences to the family,” said Cde Gumbo.
Gwanda North representative in the National Assembly Cde Madodana Sibanda in whose constituency Cde Ntuliki hails from said he was at a loss of words over the death.
Gwanda Mayor Councillor Knowledge Ndlovu said it was hard to believe that Cde Ntuliki was gone.
Cde Spare Sithole, the Zanu-PF provincial member for Matabeleland South said Cde Ntuliki loved his province and worked well with the people.
“As a province we have lost a brilliant man who never looked down upon anyone. He was a true son of the soil,” said Cde Sithole.
An accomplished war veteran, Cde Ntuliki whose psudo name was Maphekapheka joined the President’s Department soon after the attainment of Independence where he worked in various portfolios until the time of his death.
Cde Ntukili was born on 8 August 1959 in Gwanda District’s Matshetsheni area, Matabeleland South. He, however, grew up in Mawabeni in Esigodini where he did his primary education. For his secondary education he went to Gwanda High School which he left in 1974 when he was in Form 3 to join the armed struggle in Zambia via Botswana. He was 15 then.
He is survived by eight children, three girls and five boys and six grandchildren. Mourners are gathered at his residence Number 19 Kildare Road in Burnside, Bulawayo.