HomeLocal NewsNkomo poser at Zanu PF indaba

Nkomo poser at Zanu PF indaba

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Delegates to the Zanu PF conference this week will be confronted by an abandoned construction site where the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s statue should have stood amid reports the Ministry of Home Affairs is unaware why the project has been shelved.

There was furore over the choice of a Harare-based contractor to do the job as civic society and other indviduals questioned the apparent sidelining of local contractors.

There were reports Zanu PF wanted to unveil the controversial statue during the conference which kicks off in the city today.

The party had reportedly been pushing the contractor to finish the job before the conference, a development that could have gone a long way in placating the people of Matabeleland where there is a feeling Nkomo’s legacy has not been properly recognised.

A Harare-based contractor abandoned the construction site two weeks ago amid reports government had run out of funds for the project.

Sibangalizwe Nkomo, the son of the late Vice-President and national hero, confirmed the work stoppage. The construction of the late Father Zimbabwe statue, which has been turned into a circus, has been mired in controversy since its inception.

The statue was pulled down in September 2010 after the Nkomo family protested that the statue did not capture the true attributes of the late Vice-President and that the family was not involved in the project.

After realising its blunder, the government engaged the Nkomo family through the Joshua Nkomo Foundation and construction resumed end of July this year.

Early this year, Kembo Mohadi, the co-Minister of Home Affairs, announced that the project was due to be completed before Heroes’ Day commemorations in August, but the contractors failed to beat the deadline.

NewsDay yesterday visited the site where heaps of gravel at the platform on which Nkomo’s North Korean-made bronze statue was supposed to be mounted have become an eyesore.

Godfrey Mahachi, the director of National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe, under whose mandate the statue falls, told NewsDay yesterday he was equally puzzled by the developments.

“I have been told by the Ministry of Home Affairs that they are investigating the issue surrounding the delays in the completion of the statue,” Mahachi said. “They are investigating to find out why progress has been stalled and to see the way forward,” Mahachi said.

“The completion of the Joshua Nkomo site in my view should be due to delays in preparing material that could be used to finish the site. Progress on the site of the statue should not take time.

If that is what the Ministry of Home Affairs is doing (investigating), it should not take more than two weeks to resume,” he said.

Mohadi declined to disclose the causes of the delay, but only said they would make a formal announcement when work on site resumes.

It now remains doubtful if the project will be completed before the country commemorates the 1987 Unity Accord on December 22, which marks Unity Day when the late Nkomo’s PF Zapu merged with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF.

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