Work on Nkomo statue resumes

BULAWAYO – Construction work on the  statue of the late Vice President Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo has resumed in the City of Kings, an official has said.

The construction process, which began at the beginning of this month at the intersection of 8th ?Avenue and Main Street in Bulawayo, comes after the process twice hit a snag due to purported financial challenges.

National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) acting regional director Lonke Nyoni expressed confidence in the latest? attempt to honour the veteran nationalist.

“Work resumed at the beginning of September and major work is now on the pedestal which I can confirm is progressing smoothly so far,” Nyoni said.

“The podium is going to be cuddled with some granite blocks so that its finish falls in line with its surroundings. The surroundings include the adjacent buildings, the Post Office and Barclays Bank — it has to simply blend.”

He said the intention was to create a traffic circle at the intersection, where the statue which is currently being kept at the Bulawayo History Museum will be erected.

Nyoni said construction work is being supervised by the Local Government ministry and is expected to be completed by mid-October when it will be handed over to the Home Affairs ministry.

The government through NMMZ is working with the Bulawayo City Council on the project.

Nyoni could not be drawn into revealing the total cost of the whole project although the Public Works ministry is on record saying $400 000 was required for the whole process.

Sibangilizwe, son to the veteran nationalist refused to talk about the construction process surrounding his father’s statue when contacted for comment.

“I am sorry I am no longer commenting on the statute on behalf of the family, you can try UmaNkomo (Thandiwe).”

Ever since the idea to honour the former robust Zapu leader was introduced, controversy has derailed the programme.

In 2010 the statue was pulled down before its official unveiling following strong objections from the Nkomo family and the Bulawayo community who felt the statue did not capture the exact attributes of Father Zimbabwe and that it was made in North Korea.

In Matabeleland region, North Korea is associated with the notorious Fifth Brigade which terrorised residents and villagers during the Gukurahundi era.

However, the project resumed in July 2011 following a directive by the Zanu PF politburo to re-erect the statue but in November, the project was once again abandoned by the contractor after the government reportedly ran out of funds.

In December 2011, the government tried to speed up work on the project to enable President Robert Mugabe to unveil it during the Zanu PF conference but that was never to be.

Nkomo died on July 1, 1999, and his remains are interred at the National Heroes Acre.

Comments (1)

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Vada - 17 September 2013

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