HomeLocal NewsNkomo jolts Zanu PF

Nkomo jolts Zanu PF

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A bid by players outside government to honour the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s legacy has jolted Zanu PF into action amid revelations ministers are now under pressure to complete projects to be named after the veteran nationalist.

Zanu PF last week reportedly moved in to block the inaugural Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Lecture at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) following concerns that President Robert Mugabe had been sidelined.

There is mounting anger in Matabeleland that it has taken 13 years to honour Nkomo, with projects such as the Joshua Mqabuko International Airport in Bulawayo and statues to be erected in Bulawayo and Harare in limbo.

The upgrading of the former Bulawayo International Airport has taken over a decade.

It has since emerged that Zanu PF wanted Mugabe to kick-start the lectures but on condition that he commissions the airport, the statue in Bulawayo and Joshua Mqabuko Polytechnic in Gwanda on the same date. Sources said Mugabe had been scheduled to deliver the lecture on in April this year.

Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi had reportedly assured the Zanu PF politburo last year that the statue would be completed by December last year while Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Nicholas Goche had said the airport would have been completed by April.

But all deadlines were missed putting Zanu PF plans on ice. A top Zanu PF official linked to the projects told NewsDay yesterday that responsible ministries were now under pressure to deliver for Mugabe to present the lecture before the end of the year.

This is meant to neutralise local civic groups that have filled the void in a bid to preserve the legacy of one of the founders of Zimbabwean nationalism.
Mohadi refused to comment on the matter saying:

“We invited you when we launched the project and will do the same when we commission it.”
Transport and Infrastructural Development secretary Munesu Munodawafa said the airport was nearing completion.

“The airport is almost 96% complete in terms of physical construction of structures,” Munodawafa said.

Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba could neither confirm nor deny the Zanu PF leader had been invited to inaugurate the Nkomo lectures, saying it was a private event.

Environment and Natural Resources Management minister Francis Nhema, who is also chairperson of the Joshua Nkomo Foundation, said it had always been known that Mugabe would commission all the projects in a single day.

Nkomo died of prostate cancer on July 1, 1999.

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