National Healing co-minister Moses Mzila–Ndlovu has challenged President Robert Mugabe to apologise to the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s family over his claim the late nationalist had developed “gout” because he ate too much meat.
Ndlovu told NewsDay on Friday Mugabe should do that as an act of reconciliation and healing with the Nkomo family.
“The President’s comment that the late Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo died because of gout was an insult to the Nkomo family because we all know that he was not killed by gout. He insulted the man that he calls Father Zimbabwe,” he said.
“He must apologise to the Nkomo family as this would prove that he is a President that is interested in the concept of healing and reconciliation as a whole.”
Ndlovu said Mugabe’s comment that Nkomo ate meat “Ndebele-style” also segregates the Ndebele people.
“By saying that Nkomo ate meat ‘Ndebele-style’ the President segregated an ethnic group and this is the opposite of what national healing is about,” he said.
“Such comments, whether or not they are jokes, are the seeds of ethnic hatred and reverse efforts towards reconciliation because they would have offended some Ndebele people.”
Nkomo’s son, Sibangilizwe, recently dismissed claims the veteran nationalist ate too much meat and suffered from gout.
Sibangilizwe argued that Mugabe was just emphasising on the advice he was giving to ZBC’s Tazzen Mandizvidza, who interviewed him on TV and the young on the importance of exercise.
Mugabe made the claims in one of his interviews with the State media on the eve of his 88th birthday.
Mugabe said he had lived long because he was particular about his diet.
“We loved eating meat dishes when we were freedom fighters,” he said in the interview.
“All those we were dining with loved meat and as for Joshua Nkomo, he enjoyed (meat) more than others. If we were given a chicken, he used to eat all of it, but he ended (up) suffering from gout, then the doctor said
no . . . ah.”