Nkomo's triple honour

BULAWAYO - Stakeholders tasked with ensuring the accomplishment of three major projects in honour of the late veteran
nationalist and former vice president Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo have expressed gratification at the work.

President Robert Mugabe will officially commission the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport; unveil the statue and the official renaming of the street transforming the thoroughfare from Main Street to Joshua Nkomo Street.

Delegates from the government, members of the Nkomo family, Bulawayo City Council, the Joshua Nkomo Foundation among other stakeholders were part of the team that made the final tour to the projects.

Zimbabwe celebrates the Unity Day in recognition of the 1987 Unity Accord that brought together Mugabe’s Zanu PF with Nkomo’s Zapu as one on December 22.

As part of commemorations, the nation will witness the greatest honour to be bestowed on Zapu founding president ever since his death a decade- and-a-half ago.

The bronze statue which was mounted on Sunday night is shielded from public view through black plastic covers. Inside the plastics, the statue, which depicts Nkomo in a suit holding his traditional walking stick on the right hand, is wrapped in a Zimbabwean flag.

The delegates also managed to identify a point where a placard with the new street name will be placed for unveiling.

Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi visited the site on Monday to inspect the project and expressed satisfaction with the developments.

Speaking at the site after touring the airport yesterday, permanent secretary in the ministry of Home Affairs Melusi Matshiya said his ministry was done with the preparations.

“Of course it has taken some time to complete,” Matshiya told the Daily News.

“We are now looking forward to people of Zimbabwe to come and see the honour we have bestowed on our hero as well as the amount of work we have put for this cause,” he said.

Matshiya said Nkomo deserved such an honour as he was a revered selfless liberator who worked for the country tirelessly.

“People would want his name immortalised as this will become an important structure for the people particularly of Bulawayo,” he said.

Matshiya said plans for a Nkomo statue to be erected in Harare were already afoot. His ministry was ready to resume the work as a way of celebrating the life of the former Zapu leader.

“We are looking at logistical arrangement for the Harare statue,” Matshiya said.

Jabulani Hadebe, Joshua Nkomo Foundation chief executive officer, said he was overjoyed by the way Father Zimbabwe’s heroic contribution to the nation as a whole has finally been recognised.

“This achievement is not only for us but for the nation as a whole as this is just but recognition for the work he has done,” Hadebe said.

“To us it’s a victory and I feel this is not an end of his honour but a continuous process that will see several other honours coming in the future,” he added.

Chief architecture in the ministry of Local Government and Public Works, Enoch Mpofu, who was tasked with the supervision of construction process at the statue, confirmed its completion.

The pedestal on which the statue is erected is four-and-half metres while the statue itself is three metres high making the total length of the structure seven-and-half metres tall.

The statue, which according to Mpofu is facing northwards, is situated at the intersection of Main Street and 8th Avenue, the exact place where the statue of Cecil John Rhodes was erected.

On top of the adjacent building that houses the Barclays bank that is where the Union Jack flag used to be raised in the Rhodesian era.

Nkomo’s statue was erected in 2010 and pulled down before its official unveiling after Bulawayo residents and the Nkomo family complained that the dimensions of the initial pedestal did not capture the attributes of the late Father Zimbabwe in full.

Nkomo died on July 1, 1999 and was accorded national hero status. 

The erection of his statue is in memory of his illustrious works and contributions to the liberation of the country and its development after independence.

Comments (1)

While the honor is good, I would rather have people honoured while still alive, ipa munhu sando dzake ari mupenyu. Otherwise it becomes cheap politics.

me - 19 December 2013

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