We were never consulted on my father’s statue — Nkomo’s son


BULAWAYO — Joshua Nkomo’s only surviving son says he is against the erection of a statue of his late father at Karigamombe Centre in Harare because of the negative political connotations of such a move.
Sibangilizwe Nkomo said this in an interview on the sidelines of the commemoration of the 11th anniversary of his father’s death at Amakhosi Township Square on Saturday. The event was organised by a local pressure group, Ibhetshu Likazulu.
“In the first instance, before we even get to the issue of the proposed location, where is it (statue) coming from, to start with? After learning in the past few days of the irony associated with erecting the statue at Karigamombe – which I had never known before — I will not be happy if my father’s statue was to be put there,’’ said Nkomo.
“In fact, we were not even asked to choose the picture that was or is to be used to design the statue. We are never consulted. We have a situation where someone just talks on our behalf and then claims that the Nkomo family has agreed to this and that.’’
The issue of the proposed statue arose during a full council meeting in Harare last week, in which councillors expressed their concern that the proposed statue could provoke a tribally-based backlash.
Karigamombe means, “one who takes the bull by the horns’’ and is associated with President Mugabe’s family. President Mugabe used the cockerel as his party’s symbol while Nkomo used a charging bull as his pictogram in election campaigns before the Unity Accord of 1987.
Following publication of the story about the statue, political activists, civil society leaders and residents from Bulawayo expressed outrage over the proposed location of the statue of the icon, saying the move was an insult to the late Vice-President who was affectionately known as Father Zimbabwe.
“I have said it time and again that there are better ways to honour him (Nkomo) than such things as galas for instance or television flashbacks.
“There are more befitting ways that we can learn from other countries,” he said.
Nkomo also expressed concern over the state of some of the projects that his legendary father had initiated.
“There are business ventures that he left behind for us as a family but those other projects like the canning factories and Nuanetsi Ranch — we are not involved and some of them have not materialised. My father was 50 years ahead of us in terms of his vision,” said Nkomo.
He said he was aware of the location in Bulawayo where the second statue of his father would be erected.
“I know council decided on that a long time ago but it is yet to be erected,” said Nkomo.