John Nkomo: What people said

HARARE - Vice President John Nkomo lost his battle with cancer on Thursday at the age of 79.

The former ZAPU stalwart died at Harare’s St Anne’s Hospital after being admitted overnight.

Here are some early reactions to his death: President Robert Mugabe: “We’ve lost our vice president John Landa Nkomo. He was suffering for a long time with cancer. All of a sudden now we heard his situation had become worse ... deteriorated from yesterday (Wednesday).

“So I would like to express on behalf of the government of Zimbabwe, myself, the Cabinet and the Zanu PF party my sincere condolences to the Nkomo family, relatives, friends and everyone else who new Cde Nkomo.
“We have lost a real revolutionary, a fighter of freedom, a friend of the people. He will be dearly missed by all of us.”

Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono: “The sad and untimely departure of our revered Vice President John Nkomo is an incalculable loss to the nation.

“The board of the RBZ, management, staff, my family and I join the Nkomo family, President Mugabe, government and the whole nation in mourning the loss of a leader, businessman of impeccable repute and a father whose contribution to the liberation, progress and development of this country places him in the supreme category of departed heroes.

“His unassuming disposition despite his position of authority, knowledge, wisdom and rare credentials made him a personal friend of almost everybody he interacted with. He will be missed by many.”

Education and Sport minister David Coltart: “I’m very sorry to hear of the death of Vice President John Landa Nkomo. Although Nkomo was a member of a political party I clash with often, I always had a very cordial personal relationship with him.

“I first got to know him some 27 years ago when many of his colleagues in ZAPU were detained and I as a young lawyer was instructed to represent them.

“He would often come into my office at Webb, Low and Barry to enquire after his colleagues and we developed a good friendship which stood the test of time.

“In the last four years in Cabinet, we have been able to rekindle that friendship and I always found him a moderating influence in Cabinet.

“I last saw him when we opened a secondary school together in Tsholotsho last year which was built near the primary school where he went.

“We had a very pleasant day together and I am pleased that he was able to do this in the twilight of his life.

 “I was very impressed with the dignified way in which he dealt with his illness. I will miss him in Cabinet. I convey my deepest sympathy to his family and political colleagues.”

United States Embassy statement: “The Embassy of the United States of America expresses its condolences to the family and the people of Zimbabwe on the death of Vice President John Landa Nkomo.

“Whether as a teacher, a politician, an advocate for Zimbabwe’s independence, or as a public servant, Vice President Nkomo was a patriot who dedicated his life to Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and prosperity.

“As a leader of PF Zapu and Zanu PF, Nkomo played an important role in shaping the course of Zimbabwean history. May he rest in peace.”

Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Senegal Trudy Stevenson on Twitter: “I’m very sorry to learn Zimbabwe’s Vice President John Nkomo has died.

“Condolences to all. RIP.” —

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