The government has put a veil of secrecy on Joshua Nkomo’s Harare statue ever since the High Court stopped the erection of the monument in honour of the veteran nationalist opposite Karigamombe Centre.
Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi yesterday said “something is happening” but refused to reveal if a decision had been reached on where the statue would be erected.
In interviews, family members and other stakeholders such as the Harare City Council and the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) said they had not received a word from the government ever since proposed Harare site was rejected.
“I think the situation remains the same as it was a few weeks ago. The matter has not moved. You know it was supposed to be erected where work was being carried out, but there was a court ruling which stopped work. I have not received further information on the matter,” said NMMZ director Godfrey Mahachi.
The NMMZ is the responsible authority for such projects and in Harare they had contracted Mutual Construction to build the pedestal on which the statue was to stand.
Mahachi confirmed the Harare statue was in the country but would not say where it was being kept.
Thandiwe Nkomo Ebrahim, Nkomo’s eldest daughter, said the family was in the dark about the whereabouts of the statue or where it would be erected in the capital.
“We haven’t heard anything. As you know we have been left out of this issue and have been relying on the media for information. We haven’t received any information,” she said.
Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said the city was also in the dark about the status of the statue. He said city authority was required for any such project but no request had been made by the government or anybody else.
“The city council remains the designated town planning authority of Harare, meaning that for any edifice to be erected authority has to be given by the city,” Masunda said.
“The normal procedure is that the application should go through the urban planning services department where it would be evaluated by technocrats in that department who include the city architect, city valuer and city planner.
“If it gets the nod a report is then made to the environment management committee and the chairperson of that committee makes a report to the full council for final approval. That has not happened.”
There has been speculation that the Harare statue was likely to be erected at Africa Unity Square. Mohadi said the nation would be informed of the site in due course.
“Kana nguva yakwana tichakuudzayi (When the time has come we will tell you),” Mohadi said.
“The statues are already in the country and something is happening. You will know soon.”