A Cabinet minister yesterday said the government had no plans to erect a statue of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo at Bulawayo’s international airport named after him.
Report by Pamela Mhlanga
The minister’s statement contradicted an earlier confirmation by authorities at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport that a site had already been reserved for the statue.
Airport manager Passmore Dhewa told NewsDay that the erection of the statue would depend on the availability of funds.
“We have provided a site for the statue and it is the responsibility of the government to erect the statue whenever it has acquired the funds,” he said.
But co-Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi said government had no plans for such a landmark.
“I am not aware of that. I only know of two sites where as government we intend to put Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo statues which are in Harare and in Bulawayo,” he said.
Mohadi could not be drawn into revealing progress in the erection of the statues in Bulawayo and Harare, which have been on the cards for years.
Recently, during a tour at the airport, officials told the media that they were interested in having the statue erected at the airport and even showed journalists the site.
Early last year, the government set a deadline to have the statues erected before the Heroes Day celebrations but failed to do so.
In 2010 the government was forced to pull down the first statue it had erected in Bulawayo after Nkomo’s family rejected it, saying it did not benefit the status of the late nationalist.
Civic society groups also protested after it emerged that the statue was produced by North Koreans.
North Korea trained members of the 5th Brigade who are accused of the massacre of more than 20 000 civilians in Matabeleland and
Midlands during the Gukurahundi era.