Joshua Nkomo family to speak out


Joshua Nkomo’s family is expected to speak out today on the raging debate over the erection of a statue of the late Father Zimbabwe at Karigamombe Centre in Harare as rumblings grow louder over government’s inaction to hold a commemoration in honour of the country’s national hero.
Nkomo’s daughter, Thandiwe Nkomo, said she would grant Newsday an interview today to clear the air on the furore created after the announcement that Nkomo’s statue would be erected at Karigamombe Centre.
Political activists, civic society groups and residents in Bulawayo reacted angrily to the reports and said plans to erect the statue at Karigamombe Centre were a big insult to Nkomo and the region.
The furore over the statue comes a few days after commemorations of Nkomo’s death, with those that worked with him during the liberation struggle saying he was being disrespected.
Thandiwe told Newsday she would not answer questions on the matter over the telephone but promised to speak to this newspaper today on the sidelines of a commemoration for Nkomo expected to be held in Bulawayo.
“I cannot answer your concerns over the phone but I will grant your paper an interview tomorrow if you come for the commemorations,” Thandiwe said.
Nkomo’s nephew Dumisani Nkomo, said the decision to erect the late Father Zimbabwe’s statue at the former Piccadilly Centre was an insult to the family.
“The decision would be interpreted as an insult to the family especially when one looks at the history of what Karigamombe stands for,” Nkomo said.
Family sources said the family would make their position public at Amakhosi cultural centre where Nkomo’s commemorations would be held today.
Those that worked with Nkomo were seething with anger over the way the nationalist has been treated.
Former ZIPRA intelligence supremo and interim president for the revived Zapu, Dumiso Dabengwa said: “There was a lot of confusion over the celebration of Nkomo’s life and it is not fair and very hurting that a person of Nkomo’s standing in society could be remembered in a confused way. One does hope that in future there would be better co-ordination of the event.”
He said commemorations in Zimbabwe were led by Friends of Joshua Nkomo, a trust formed to preserve his works, while there was no visible effort from government this year.
“The fact that they did not even hold a gala for Nkomo reflects the disrespect that the government has for Nkomo. He was a great man and he deserves to be treated much better than this,” he said.
He said the issue of erecting Nkomo’s statue was discussed long ago but nothing concrete came out of the meetings.
“Nkomo’s statue was supposed to be erected a long time ago in Bulawayo and Harare. In Bulawayo a street was identified but the previous Zanu PF government did not act on the resolutions made. These delays are trivialising the sacrifice Nkomo made for the liberation of Zimbabwe,” Dabengwa said.
Joshua Nkomo Foundation Trustee, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, a Zanu PF politburo member expressed dismay at the low key commemorations across the country.
“This is disheartening, a man of the stature of Nkomo really deserves better than what is happening right now and more should be done in future to adequately honour him,” Ndlovu said.
“It would be one of the biggest blunders to put that statue there (Karigamombe Centre) if it is to be put there at all. So there is need for consensus when honouring a great man like Nkomo,” Plans by the Harare city council to erect the statue to honour Nkomo have caused ructions in Matabeleland region.
Karigamombe means one who takes the bull by the horns, and is associated with President Mugabe’s family.
Nkomo used a charging bull as his party symbol while President Mugabe used a cockerel.