GWANDA - The MDC led by Welshman Ncube wants President Robert Mugabe and government to do more in honouring the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo.
MDC’s statement comes days after Mugabe honoured Nkomo after years of bickering between stakeholders, including civic groups and the late nationalist’s family who opposed a “tokenism” gesture by the octogenarian leader.
Until last Sunday when three projects were commissioned by Mugabe in Nkomo’s name, the issue of honouring him had for years become a subject of dispute between political parties, civic society and the Nkomo family.
“It all came to us as good news to have one of our own illustrious sons ever to emerge in this region being honoured in a way the nation did,” said Pilate Ndebele the MDC provincial chairman for Matabeleland South.
“We are the province where Nkomo was born but ever since he died our expectations to have him recognised here have only remained a dream.
It is our hope that the government should consider erecting another statue at the provincial capital in Gwanda,” Ndebele said.
He, however, added that his suggestions for further tribute should not be misconstrued as a call against the recent bestowed honour on Father Zimbabwe, one of the popular names Nkomo was affectionately known as.
“All I am saying is, culturally I feel he should be honoured where he was born,” Ndebele said.
He said while President Mugabe repeatedly indicated in his speech during the commissioning of the three projects that Nkomo was a unifier, he also needed to tread in his footsteps.
“Mugabe spoke about unity but up to today he has not said sorry to the people who lost thousands of their relatives and friends during Gukurahundi. As such we expect him to spearhead the honour to the victims who are lying neglected at Bhalagwe,” he said.
Remains of those who were massacred and thrown into the disused mine in Bhalagwe, said Ndebele, should be retrieved and reburied at provincial heroes’ acres in Gwanda and Plumtree.
The Kezi-born Nkomo died on July 1, 1999 and was accorded national hero status.
He had ended years of bitter feuding with Mugabe by signing the Unity Accord on December 22, 1987 to bury the long drawn out political saga between PF Zapu and Zanu PF.
More than 20 000 civillians were massacred in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces during a government ordered crackdown against bandits claimed to have been fighting in Nkomo’s corner.