AFRICANGLOBE – Zimbabwe today introspects as people remember the late national hero and Vice President Dr. Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, who died 15 years ago, after a lifetime of personal sacrifice and selfless service to the people.
The late freedom fighter’s demise on July 1, 1999, plunged the entire nation into mourning, yet vivid memories of his love for the people and his sacrifice for unity and peace still linger.
People who worked closely with the late Father Zimbabwe both during and after the liberation struggle yesterday said the country was on the right path to fulfilling Dr Nkomo’s vision.
They pointed out that Dr Nkomo fought for Black economic empowerment and the equal distribution of natural resources.
Speaking at the launch of Dr Nkomo’s book “Unity and Honour” at the Joshua Nkomo Memorial Museum in Bulawayo yesterday, Zanu-PF national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, said it was important for key events in Zimbabwe’s history to be documented.
He said Dr Nkomo’s legacy would not die as he stood for humanity.
The 40-page book captures the events of December 22 last year, where President Mugabe commissioned the Joshua Mqabuko International Airport, officiated at the unveiling of the Joshua Nkomo statue and the renaming of Main Street to Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street.
It is a compilation of speeches and pictures of President Mugabe, Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo, Dr Obert Mpofu, Michael Sibangilizwe Nkomo, Dr Ignatius Chombo, Edward Ginqusaba Nyongolo Nkomo, Thandi Nkomo Ibrahim and Kembo Mohadi during the celebrations.
Cde Moyo said they were launching Dr Nkomo’s book in his honour, describing him as a visionary, charismatic leader.
“His deeds live forever,” he said. “It is in recognition of his selfless contribution to the liberation of this country and his illustrious service to Zimbabwe that we launch this concise booklet.”
Cde Moyo, a former Special Assistant to Dr Nkomo during the liberation struggle, said in an interview after the book launch that Dr Nkomo would remain a legend in people’s minds.
He described Dr Nkomo as a man of various attributes and occupations, among them magical auctioneer, lay preacher, social worker, politician, farmer, businessman, trade unionist, Zipra Commander-in-Chief and Vice President of Zimbabwe.
“Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo was a towering political giant, an icon, a man of vision, a fountain of wisdom, an inspiration and indeed a man of the people,” Cde Khaya Moyo said.
“People came from all over the country and beyond to consult him on numerous issues. Former PF-Zapu secretary-general Cde Cephas Msipa said Dr Nkomo was a visionary who wanted to see peace among indigenous Zimbabweans.
“He was a proper revolutionary leader who cared for the people and did not discriminate whether one was young, old, educated or uneducated,” he said.
Cde Msipa said Dr Nkomo believed in economic empowerment which is the reason he advised Zipra cadres to buy properties after the liberation struggle.
“He would always say he wanted equitable distribution of the country’s wealth,” he said.
“He realised the importance of agriculture which is the reason he bought farms not for himself but for many people. He would always say if you want money you should practice agriculture. He would say lima nxa ufuna imali.
“He wanted to see a prosperous Zimbabwe and this country must continue to honour him because he did a lot.”
Cde Msipa said the land reform and the indigenisation and economic empowerment drive Zanu-PF Government spearheaded fulfilled some of Dr Nkomo’s aspirations.
Former Zipra’s Armed Women’s Wing Chief of Staff Cde Chiratidzo Mabuwa, said Dr Nkomo detested tribalism and regionalism.
“Dr Nkomo brought peace and unity even when we were coming back from the war, he would always say we should share ammunition, information and food with those who were fighting from the Zanla side,” she said.
Cde Mabuwa said Dr Nkomo believed in economic empowerment for indigenous Zimbabweans.
She said for Dr Nkomo’s “holistic vision” of economically empowering Zimbabweans to be achieved it was important to ensure that the country fully benefits from its natural resources besides land.
Former Zipra intelligence supremo Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, said Dr Nkomo wanted to see peace prevail among Zimbabweans despite the 1980s disturbances.
“He is the reason the Unity Accord came about despite the fact that some of us did not like it,” he said. “Nkomo said what is important is unity.
If you look at what happened with Renamo in Mozambique and Unita in Angola, he stopped that from happening here.
“Very few people take these things into consideration. People have no idea how much this country would have been plunged into a bloody confrontation, but Nkomo sacrificed to stop it.”
Dr Dabengwa said Dr Nkomo believed in economic empowerment of rural people, hence his various projects.
Zanu-PF Politburo member Dr Obert Mpofu said Dr Nkomo inspired the spirit of revolution in the minds of many young people at a time when the talk of liberation from colonisers was a taboo.
“We view Umdala as a towering icon of our liberation struggle who sacrificed his life for liberating his people,” he said.
“He stood up against all the injustices and encouraged us to sacrifice our lives to free our country. This is not a mean contribution.”
Bulawayo Provincial Minister of State Cde Eunice Nomthandazo Moyo said Dr Nkomo would remain a yardstick of noble leadership and a conscience of liberation values.