Mugabe in bid to honour Nkomo

BULAWAYO - President Robert Mugabe is one shrewd and contriving politician who has stuck to his guns no matter how people at home and abroad view his position.

Whatever decision he takes, history has shown that in many occasions the path he will have chosen will be walked by many despite sharp opposition from different sectors.

Perhaps, this has aided to his long stay in power becoming one of the longest-serving and oldest president in Africa.

When one of the most-revered nationalists Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo passed on — a decade-and-a-half ago, a lot was said about honouring him especially on a number of projects that he had initiated during his life time.

But it was not to be as honouring him in many ways turned out to be a source of conflict between the ruling party Zanu PF and the opposition parties together with the civic society who viewed the delay as pure political sabotage.

So much was the pressure to compel government that at least a street be named after him, but without the nod from the only man Zimbabwe has known as president since independence, all effort came to nought.

On December 22, the nation will witness the official opening of the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport, the unveiling of Father Zimbabwe’s statue and the official renaming of the street transforming the thoroughfare from Main Street to Joshua Nkomo Street.

This is what the nation, particularly the people of Matabeleland, have been waiting for.

Surprisingly, the speed at implementing these whole programmes only came after Mugabe ordered the immediate completion of these projects.

This was confirmed by Transport minister Obert Mpofu when he toured the airport about two months ago.

Mpofu made it clear he had been sent by his boss to ensure the airport is operational before the beginning of November.

Such has been the power of Mugabe, but with age fast getting the better of him, speculation has it that he might be contemplating quitting any time hence the idea to spruce up and fine tune some of his unfinished projects.

The Daily News on Sunday spoke to political analysts who described the sudden move to complete the projects as nothing more than a campaign for the 2018 elections by Zanu PF.

“Well, while we know Zanu PF has over the years, shunned Joshua Nkomo projects, the party has now taken a proactive and engagement approach,” political analyst Englestone Sibanda said.

“Mugabe is desperate to spruce up the image of his party here in Bulawayo before he retires. Most importantly they are already preparing for the 2018 election using these projects. It is nothing but politics,” he said.

Sibanda said the move was also meant at ensuring they take the agenda away from the opposition who for years have thrived on Zanu PF’s shortcomings in the greater Matabeleland region where they have been struggling to get convincing support.

“To be honest, once that statue is there and the other projects are initiated, then you have killed such parties like Zapu who have particularised Nkomo on the basis he was the party leader before the Unity Accord,” Sibanda said.

“Mugabe knows very well what affects the people of Matabeleland so he is already working on that, way before the elections and I can assure you we are headed for a one party State.”

Another political analyst Godwin Phiri said Mugabe has a legacy to leave behind before he retires.

“There is an issue of legacy here. Mugabe wouldn’t want to leave behind a divided nation so that is why he has already begun to speed up these outstanding projects,” Phiri said.

Phiri said as a result, Zanu PF was most likely to deal with all pockets of resistance in the region.

“Some of these moves are targeted at the next elections in 2018,” he said.

“In the next five years people should expect a lot of activity that will make the party attractive in this region. We are likely to see an attempt to finish other outstanding projects like the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project and many others. Mugabe is not comfortable with having to be rejected in one region for 30 years,” he said.

Phiri said the whole process was political in the sense that besides seeking relevance, they wanted to eliminate any opposition through honouring Nkomo regarded as the greatest person to emerge in Matabeleland region.

Thomas Sithole told the Daily News on Sunday Mugabe had a duty to find a way of uniting the nation that he personally divided mostly through such issues as Gukurahundi atrocities.

“I think Mugabe is pushing to honour Nkomo so as to show his commitment towards unity though it is happening years after he passed on.

“This is why he has decided to have the whole process done on Unity Day here in Bulawayo,” Sithole said.
“The other thing is, it is public knowledge that Nkomo was a hero par excellence — so was his popularity.
“In simple terms Zanu PF has always been clever to try and ride on this, which I am sure is what they are doing now.”

He said Mugabe who apologised about the Gukurahundi atrocities during his rallies ahead of the July 31 elections was well aware of his mission in the region.

“He knows that people of Matabeleland have for years chosen to vote for the opposition MDC instead of Zanu PF and he was quite aware where he has been going wrong.

“Before he retires I am confident he will have employed some kind of truce with the people of Matabeleland,” he said.

Comments (3)

You can officially open the aieport or unveil Nkomo's statue but BULAWAYO will never vote for you and your stinking party. Apologise for Gukurahundi openly and we might consider. Shit.

Mutirowafanza - 16 December 2013

Mutirowafanza - For your own information the GUKURAHUNDI story you are clamoring for was one of the top issues when Father Zimbabwe and Bob discussed the UNITY ACCORD. These two are great revolutionaries with a lot of experiences and extremely shroud in mind. You need an undo to brainwash you have suffered to hate the Unity of this great nation. In South Africa Mandela and De Clark had such a unity. The intention of a UNITY ACCORD is to admit that wrongs had been done on both side and accept that let by-goners be by-goners. You are seeing a splinter in your brother's eye what about the log in yours!

dungas - 16 December 2013

The Mobutu - Patrice Lumumba scenario. This is just politics. No one is sincere here. Machiavelli deception. We all know it.

Mafirakureva - 16 December 2013

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