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Do Zimbabweans Cherish Joshua Nkomo's Legacy?

  • Blessing  Zulu

The late Vice President Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo

The late Vice President Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo

Zimbabweans across the political divide joined hands Tuesdad in commemorating the passing on 15 years ago of former Vice President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo.

On this day, President Robert Mugabe announced to the nation that Nkomo had died at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare. The president said on state radio: "I regret to announce to you the passing away early this morning of our beloved compatriot ... One of the stalwarts of Zimbabwe's struggle from the 1950s to the 1970s for independence from Britain.".

Nkomo was regarged by many political analysts as the president that Zimbabwe never had. Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Nkomo were former partners and rivals during and after the liberation war in the 1970s. They were detained together between 1964 and 1974 by rebel Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Douglas Smith.

Nkomo lost to Mr. Mugabe in the 1980 election and in 1982 the Zanu-PF government launched the now infamous Gukurahundi war in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces resulting in Nkomo going into exile.

PF Zapu and Zanu later signed the 1987 unity agreement resulting in a unity government and paving way for Nkomo to be the vice president. But Nkomo, being a great nationalist refuted the popular view that gukurahundi was a tribal war.

What really happened during the last days of the late nationalists days? His cousin brother Samuel Sipepa Nkomo opened up exclusiviley to Studio 7 how he and his late brother, also former Vice President John Nkomo, took care of the veteran nationalist.

Sipepa says the memory of taking Joshua Nkomo to the morgue is still vivid in his mind.

Nkomo's statue was erected in Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo, amid complaints that the Zanu-PF government relagated him to a status of a regional leader. (File Photo)

Nkomo's statue was erected in Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo, amid complaints that the Zanu-PF government relagated him to a status of a regional leader. (File Photo)

During his days, Nkomo known as Father Zimbabwe, yearned for unity and economic empowerment and fought against corruption, nepotism, and related issues. But are these dreams being fulfilled?

Zanu-PFspokesman Rugare Gumbo says the government is doing its best to fulfill them.

But opposition MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa says Zanu-PF has fallen short.

Chamisa’s sentiments were also echoed by rival, Tendai Biti, the defacto leader of another MDC faction, MDC Renewal Team.

Zapu vice president Emilia Mukaratidzwa also says the nation has betrayed the aspirations of Nkomo.

Political analyst Earnest Mudzengi says what Nkomo fought for his entire life was for the right of the people to vote though sadly morden day Zimbabwe has become an embarrasment for denying people that fundamental right.

Nkomo’s daughter, Thandi, says they are doing their best to keep their father’s memory alive.

She says more still needs to be done to ensure that his memory is kept alive.

Despite the political polarization that is characterizing Zimbabwe today, Nkomo remains a unifying figure and source of inspiration to many.

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