The son of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo Sibangilizwe Nkomo on Sunday lashed out at organisations and politicians whom he accused of using his father’s name to enrich themselves and gain political mileage neglecting projects meant to preserve “his rich political legacy”.
This came as Zanu-PF national chairman and former personal assistant of the late Nkomo, Simon Khaya Moyo, held a Zanu PF rally at Efusini in Makokoba suburb, about a kilometre from where the commemorations were being held.
Contacted for comment, Moyo said he was unaware of the celebrations at Stanley Square.
“I do not know of any commemorations that are being held for Joshua Nkomo,” he said.
Addressing hundreds of people gathered at Stanley Square in Bulawayo to commemorate Nkomo’s life, Sibangilizwe urged government to declare July 1 a public holiday in honour of the late veteran politician who died of prostate cancer on July 1, 1999.
“There are many things that people are
doing to protect the legacy of my father so that his name will always be remembered,” Sibangilizwe said.
“What makes me happy is that there are efforts being made to ensure the names of leaders such as Lookout Masuku and Nikita Mangena are not forgotten.
“However, there are many things that are being done here in Zimbabwe under my father’s name that we, as his family, do not even know about.
We eventually know about them through the media. This is painful because there are people that are using his name to make money and people who are using his name to gain political mileage.”
He added: “It is painful that his name is being dragged into the mud. It is also painful that there are things that are being made on behalf of my father that fail to pull through. Why is it that there is no holiday in his honour? Surely, why is it difficult just to allocate one day out of 365 days to remember our God-given leader? We are all the children of Nkomo that is why you called him “father Zimbabwe”. Let us have a holiday during which we remember him.
“If Nkomo’s legacy is not respected, it means we are disrespecting God because he was a God-given leader.
“We have fights for a gala, we are fighting for his statue and even fighting for lectures to commemorate his legacy because people are not respecting Father Zimbabwe.”
On Friday, a memorial lecture where former Cabinet minister Nkosana Moyo was supposed to address at the National University of Science and Technology’s was cancelled at the eleventh hour under unclear circumstances.
The site of Nkomo’s statue at the intersection of Main Street and Eighth Avenue in Bulawayo has been the cause of much controversy as its completion has endured repeated delays.
Sunday’s occasion was attended by many Zipra veterans including Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa.