THE late Vice President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated gallant sons and national heroes across the political divide and among all tribes in Zimbabwe.
Report by Silas Nkala Staff Reporter
One cannot help but be surprised to realise that most of the projects meant to honour him for his splendid participation in the pioneering of the national liberation struggle for independence since his days at the Rhodesian National Railways are being continuously frustrated.
The question that lingers at the moment is: Is it government policy failure or there are some policymakers who are deliberately stumbling efforts to honour Umdala wethu?
Several projects in his name are either frustrated at inception or abandoned after having been started.
This is a slap in the face of the nation as a whole in case someone thinks it is an embarassment to Matabeleland and the Nkomo family only.
A nation which fails to realise a hero of Nkomo’s calibre is in serious danger of having its important history either distorted or thrown down the drain.
Of late, the government wanted to erect the statue of the late vice- president which is now overdue in both Harare and Bulawayo, but the programme has since sunk into oblivion with the government not even concerned with updating the nation on what is happening with the project which the people so much expected.
It was undoubtedly the honour of their most celebrated hero, Father Zimbabwe, as he was affectionately known, that they anticipated.
Early last year, the government set a deadline to have the statue erected before the Heroes’ Day celebrations but failed to do so and did not disclose to the nation reasons for the failure.
The Bulawayo City Council made a request to the government to have Bulawayo’s Main Street named after Joshua Nkomo but nothing has so far been done as the local authority recently indicated it was still waiting for the government to respond to its request, while the government on the other hand, dismissed the claims saying it was also waiting for the council to make indications when it would want to do that.
Bulawayo deputy Mayor Amen Mpofu was recently quoted as saying the council sent the request for the road to be named after the national hero but no response was been made.
Bulawayo Resident Minister and Governor Cain Mathema told the media that the government he represents in the province expected the local authority to go ahead with the project and invite government whenever it has completed its plans for official renaming of the street.
This is a blame game which prevails each time when Nkomo’s honour is mooted prompting its abortion.
The developments surrounding Nkomo’s honour brew suspicions that some elements are jealous that he is undoubtedly the most celebrated hero of the liberation of Zimbabwe more than some of the late and living liberation fighters, hence the living former fighters resort to blocking anything which may carry foward his legacy.
Some sections of the society in Matabeleland suspect that the suppression of Nkomo’s honour is on tribal grounds, assuming that other tribes do not accept that a hero of Nkomo’s calibre could originate from Matabeleland.
They even point to the fact that Nkomo, who passed on July 1, 1999, still has no road in his honour yet the Harare City Council recently agreed to name a road in honour of the late army General Solomon Mujuru who died eleven years after Nkomo.
Last week, the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport manager Passmore Dhewa told the media that they had set aside a site for the possible erection of Nkomo’s statue at the airport but the co minister of Home affairs Kembo Mohadi on Tuesday told NewsDay that the government had no plans to erect a statue at the airport saying the only government’s plan was to erect the statues in Bulawayo and Harare central business districts.
He did not even want to disclosed when this would be done.
Though Nkomo originally belonged to PF-Zapu and led the Zipra forces, his views and ideologies were undoubtedly with national interest, void of tribal aspirations.
Ekusileni Hospital, a project which is Nkomo’s brainchild is also facing challenges and the government continuously fails to effectively intervene to fund it to its completion. This entirely amount to sabotage to those who know who Nkomo is or was and the question, who stumbles these projects remain unanswered.
Perhaps someone has an answer to why Nkomo is not being honoured.