The Zanu-PF politburo met in Harare on Monday and declared the late Vice President, John Nkomo, a national hero.
Zanu-PF’s supreme decision-making organ between congresses, the politburo, met at the party’s headquarters to confer Vice President John Landa Nkomo, who died in Harare on Thursday after a long bout with cancer, the honor of “national hero.”
Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the politburo’s decision was just a formality, given Nkomo’s official status and known contributions to the country.
Following the meeting, members of the politburo, led by party leader President Robert Mugabe, visited Nkomo’s Milton Park residence to pay their condolences and to convey their decision to the deceased’s family.
Gumbo said the Vice President’s remains would be flown to his rural home in Tsholotsho then return to Harare on Sunday. His body will lie in state before being buried at the national shrine on Monday.
Former Zanu-PF politburo member Simba Makoni, now the leader of the Mavambo Kusile Dawn party, worked with the late Nkomo in both Zanu-PF and the government. Mr. Makoni said he was saddened by the Vice President’s death.
Pedzisai Ruhanya, director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, told VOA Studio 7 that he is not opposed to Mr. Nkomo’s being honored as a hero, but wonders how Zanu-PF as a political party has the authority to confer the hero designation.
Mr. Makoni said such a body existed and that Zanu-PF is usurping the powers of the government by conferring hero status officially.