Officiating at the burial of the late Vice President, John Landa Nkomo, at the National Heroes Acres in Harare on Monday, President Robert Mugabe pledged to work for peace in the country ahead of elections expected later this year.
Thousands of people braved the wet weather to attend the event-filled burial of Vice President Nkomo at the national shrine.
Addressing mourners, President Mugabe described his late deputy as a peacemaker, saying Vice President Nkomo's wish was that there would be no political violence across Zimbabwe before, during and after the elections expected to be held sometime this year.
Mr. Mugabe promised to lead the campaign for peace himself and rallied other political leaders to do the same.
Representing the Nkomo family, Jabulani Nkomo, one of the deceased’s sons, said his entire family was saddened by the vice president's death. He also expressed anger that rumors of his father's passing were published by some online media before his actual death.
Several dignitaries from the southern African region attended the burial, including South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Zambian Vice President Guy Scott, and other senior officials from Botswana, Tanzania and Namibia.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his two deputies attended the ceremony, while the leader of Welshman Ncube's MDC formation was represented by Frank Chamunorwa.
Zanu-PF politburo member, Tendai Savanhu, fainted during President Mugabe's speech and had to be rushed to hospital. At the time of this writing, Mr. Savanhu is still in hospital and his condition is not known.
John Nkomo is the fourth vice president to die in office due to poor health. Mr. Nkomo succumbed to cancer last week Thursday. The others were Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika.
Mr. Nkomo was born on August 22, 1934, and was a member of the African National Congress. He later joined the National Democratic Party then ZAPU in 1961. After two years in prison, he joined the African National Council.
During his political career after Zimbabwe’s independence, Mr. Nkomo served as a lawmaker for Matabeleland North and Bulawayo North.
Following the disputed 2008 elections, Mr. Nkomo was appointed to the post of Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for national healing, reconciliation and integration and also became the vice president, a position he held until his death last Thursday.
Vice President Nkomo is survived by several children and his mother Macichi, who was unable to attend the burial because of poor health.