Govt attacked over Joshua Nkomo
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In a street survey done by Bulawayo24.com yesterday, most people attacked the governments' decision to show respect and recognition of the role played by Father Zimbabwe as the late VP Nkomo was affectionately known.
They identified the construction of a statue of the late nationalist at the corner of Main Street and Eight Avenue in Bulawayo city centre and the proposed renaming of Main Street to be Joshua Nkomo Street as "big dry jokes that are not funny."
However, the matter has also shown how divided the inclusive government is as other political parties in it have distanced themselves from the said projects arguing that they are Zanu PF – inspired face-savers.
The other statue of the late VP to be erected at the Karigamombe centre in Harare has been dismissed as defeating the ongoing national healing process and equated to the crucification of Zimbabwe's true national hero.
When asked about the unfinished statue of the late Vice President Nkosilathi Dube said, "These Zanu PF people do not take us seriously. They think we can sit and celebrate when they busy wasting our hard earned tax constructing odoli (statues) instead of finishing serious projects like Ekusileni hospital.
"They have even failed to finish the renovations at the Joshua Nkomo airport and they are suddenly mum about why," he said.
Nomusa Ndiweni a student at the National University of Science and Technology lambasted the government for failing to finish the construction of the university and said the failure by the government to finish the job shows little if no commitement to serving the interests of the people of Matabeleland.
"No-one must invest any trust in this government. They cannot claim to honor Joshua Nkomo when in fact they are failing to promote education in the region, which is one of the things that Umdala Wethu fought for," she said.
The chairman of Bulawayo United Residents Association (BURA) Mr Winos Dube said:
"We need to see real projects beyond road names and a statue. As an organisation, we are lobbying to see real development in our region. Government must open up factories and improve many things," he said.
Opposition political parties have distanced themselves from the Joshua Nkomo projects arguing that they are all Zanu PF planned and implemented.
MDC's youth secretary general Discent Collins Bajila said:
"Zanu PF has monopolized Joshua Nkomo and his family has also gotten too imbedded in Zanu PF's way of thinking, so we are adopting a wait and see attitude towards what they are planning to do.
"What however annoys us is that they do their rubbish in our name and abusing tax payer's money," he said.
His counterpart in the MDC T – Promise Mukhwanazi echoed the same sentiments saying:
"Whilst Joshua Nkomo was a great nation builder and visionary, his otherwise good life has been soiled by Zanu PF'S acting up as if he was their commodity.
So the moment you make any project a Zanu PF one, no matter how good it is, no progressive citizen of our troubled nation will identify with it," said Mkhwananzi who added that as a party the MDC T believes there are many better developmental ways of respecting the late nationalist.
Nkomo was born was born in Bukalanga or Bulilima now referred to as Semokwe Reserve in Matabeleland South in 1917 and was one of eight children.
His father (Thomas Nyongolo Letswansto Nkomo) worked as a preacher and a cattle rancher and worked for the London Missionary Society.
After completing his primary education in Rhodesia Nkomo took a carpentry course at the Tsholotsho Government Industrial School and studied there for a year before becoming a driver.
He later tried animal husbandry before becoming a schoolteacher specialising in carpentry at Manyame School in Kezi. In 1942, at the age of 25, during his career as a teacher, he decided that he should go to South Africa to further his education, do carpentry, and qualify to a higher level.
He attended Adams College and the Jan Hofmeyer School of Social Work in South Africa. There he met Nelson Mandela and other regional nationalist leaders at the University of Fort Hare, though he did not attend that university.
It was at the Jan H. Hofmeyr School of Social Work that he was awarded a B.A. Degree in Social Science in 1952. Nkomo married his wife Johanna MaFuyana on 1 October 1949.
After returning to Bulawayo in 1947, he became a trade unionist for black railway workers and rose to the leadership of the Railway Workers Union and then to leadership of the African National Congress in 1952.
In 1960 he became president of the National Democratic Party which was later banned by the Rhodesian government. He also became one of Rhodesia's wealthiest self-made entrepreneurs and lead ZAPU.
He signed the 22 December 1987 Unity Accord with Zanu PF's Robert Mugabe - the peace treaty that saw an end to the mass murders that Gukurahundi was committing.
He died on 1 July 1999 after a long battle with cancer.
Source: Busani Ncube
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