Grace praises Joshua Nkomo

HARARE - First Lady Grace Mugabe was yesterday effusive in her praise of the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo on account of his outstanding service to the country both before and after Zimbabwe’s independence.

The wringing endorsement of “Father Zimbabwe”, as Nkomo was fondly referred to, came a few months after Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa caused a national uproar after he described the late liberation icon as a sell-out.

A Zanu PF insider who spoke to the Daily News last night and who is seen as opposed to Mnangagwa in the warring Zanu PF said cryptically that the “stark contrast between Dr Amai’s (Grace’s) sentiments and the VP’s utterances on umdala (Nkomo) speak volumes”.

Addressing her latest rally at Maphisa Business Centre in Matabeleland South yesterday, Grace paid glowing tribute to Nkomo throughout her speech.

“He (Nkomo) struggled throughout his life so that Zimbabwe is what it is today. He struggled with many other liberation war heroes during the war, when they were persecuted by the white regime for inciting blacks to fight against oppression,” she said.

This was in stark contrast to what was said by Mnangagwa, who said in an interview with the London-based New African magazine that the much-adored late national hero was a sell-out.

Some bigwigs in the post-congress Zanu PF who were incensed by Mnangagwa’s views on Nkomo went on to print thousands of T-shirts emblazoned with the faces of the late VP and that of Grace, in what was seen as a frontal revenge attack on the Midlands godfather.

Mnangagwa’s attack of Nkomo also drew the ire of the late VP’s family, with his son Sibangilizwe Nkomo saying the Zanu PF strongman had displayed a glaring lack of respect for “Father Zimbabwe”.

“VP Mnangagwa’s statements are retrogressive and are not constructive. He wants to take away the dignity and respect of ‘Father Zimbabwe’.

“The name ‘Father Zimbabwe’ cannot be given to sell-outs, it shows his role as a nation builder. It is shocking for someone to call him a sell-out when the nation knows he was a nation-builder,” Sibangilizwe told a local weekly.

In July, former war veterans leader, Jabulani Sibanda — a former aide to Nkomo — said the respected late nationalist was “probably turning in his grave” as Zanu PF presided over “debilitating divisions in the country and a collapsing economy”.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily News as the country remembered Nkomo, Sibanda said the revered former leader of Zapu before its merger with Mugabe’s party in 1987 would “definitely be disappointed” by Zimbabwe’s demise under Zanu PF if he was still alive.

“Nkomo would not be happy if he was alive because the current leadership is actually presiding over the liquidation of the party and country. It is presiding over the liquidation of the State. I tell you, if Nkomo was alive he would be greatly disappointed,” he said.

Nkomo died on July 1, 1999 following a long illness, and after spending his entire adult life fighting for an equal and prosperous Zimbabwe.

Sibanda said Nkomo would be disappointed with Zanu PF and the state of the country because his vision for Zimbabwe was one of freedom, progress and development.

“Nkomo is the only leader in the world who went on to negotiate (with Mugabe’s Zanu) walking on top of graves in the interest of peace and unity in the country, as well as future generations. He stood for peace, tranquility and prosperity, and sadly all these values have since been destroyed by Zanu PF led by Mugabe.

“Nkomo was selfless but now we see that President Mugabe and his party are presiding over the destruction of all the values that Nkomo stood for. They are de-commissioning the party, they are de-revolutionising the party and as a result there is unprecedented disintegration of the party and government.

“But at the same time, he (Nkomo) would also be happy because he believed in the ordinary people of Zimbabwe. So, if he was here he would give people hope, unite them and tell them to find one another.

“He would give people hope because to him the people always came first, and thus he would have given the people hope and courage to regroup for the survival of the country, the revival of the economy and re-establishment of our image among other African nations.

“Yes, Nkomo would have been disappointed, but on the other hand, he would have been happy,” Sibanda said.

Comments (14)

Did Umdala struggle so that Zimbabwe "is what it is today?" I say absolutely not. He wanted freedom and prosperity for all. Not just for the ruining class

Zibeko zikaMgabhi - 4 December 2015

why then did your concubine rwavhi wanted to kill umdala wethu nyongolo?

josphat mugadzaweta - 4 December 2015

Mnangagwa was just saying what Zanu believed during the war. He was narrating what even Mugabe thought about Nkomo, because Nkomo was inclined to negotiations with Smith even when Zipra and Zanla were fighting. So this is the context in which Mnangagwa was speaking. It is true that Zanu viewed Nkomo as a sellout during the war. Mnangagwa's sin is just that he told the world what the whole of Zanu thought about Nkomo. Even Mphoko deserted Nkomo for that reason and joined Mugabe in the late 70s. What's wrong with telling history as it was?

machakachaka - 4 December 2015

Umdhala was a father of the nation,he was neither ndebele nor zezuru.He was Father Zimbabwe.Any sane person,right thinking Zimbo knows that.And for anyone to try n bring this good man s image into this madnes of position fighting is insane.Why only acknowledge that now,team Grace?Did Ngwena realy say that?Is it on record?Or its yo mouth saying that?Ws he not merely saying what Smith told him?Did Mnangagwa say he believes that ?G40 yu now hav hired overseas expects to listern to every word Ngwena says just for yu to twist around.what with yo Johnathan Moyo?an architect on those schemes.Yu did that to Teurai,reporting negatively all she said anywhere.yu went overdrive.Teurai did not have all comrades to defend her.she lost.Bt with ngwena our last standing heroe,yu can do yo damnest.we await yu.

viola gwena - 4 December 2015

we ,the comrades ,will not desert Ngwena on the field of battle,injured.That is not a soldiers behaviour.Ngwena is reaching out his hand to all comrades ,he maybe injured ,bt will get up and fight ,lead the struggle against philanderes,svusvura ndadyas ,mharapatsetsetse.we behind ngwena all the way.lets meet vic falls.have yo rallies.we wont .struggle has been our cause.AND in vic falls eyeball to eyeball.

viola gwena - 4 December 2015

The problem which I see in the so-called Ngwena is that he tries by all means to be a carbon copy of Mr Mugabe. Mr Mugabe has messed up this country big time,therefore in future we don't need to be reminded of him. By acting the character of Mugabe,Mnangagwa is campaigning himself. I don't hate his person but his dramatization of Mr Mugabe. He should start diverting his behaviour from that of Mr Mugabe.

Jonathiel Moyowaonda - 4 December 2015

it is sad we lost father zimbabwe earlier. Now is the time we would need him most

mukanya - 4 December 2015

Why is it that zanu talk about father zimbabwe when they are in Matebeleland only.? You never hear them talk about this great leader in Mashonaland as if he was confined to Mat when we all know he was a man of all people of this country.In the mind of these idiots they think anyone who hallucinates about Nkomo will automatically get support from this region .That is very stupid childish. and cheap politicking. and nonsense from this devil party and wife of the very very very very old person in zimbabwe

Diibulaanyika - 4 December 2015

Let her carry on her farewell rallies to the people .These are bye bye rallies she must be recommended for at least showing some respect by meeting people and say bye bye as for sure yena hamba nomakanjani come 2018 . Hamba kahle mama.

Diibulaanyika - 4 December 2015

When will water reach city of kings, When will slang be removed in Ndebele Examination papers. When will Bulawayo industries revived... When is the apology for double insult , of Kalanga and occupants of Matebeleland population by 1st family coming... Leave the dead to rest in peace.. Name droping is outdated.

X-MAN IV - 4 December 2015

What people dont understand is that you dont have to fight if you can negotiate. Nkomo and Mandela believed in a type of politics that Zanu people do not and cannot understand, They claim to have won the war but independence was a bi product of Lancaster House negotiations. What absurdity, what stupidity. Nkomo had vision, he saw beforehand the power of war and negotiations, as well as the limitations of both. Nkomo was a practical, pragmatic leader who empathised with ordinary people. Not these holier than thou politicians feeding themselves while the masses are starving

Ndabambi - 4 December 2015

Looks like Grace has just finished reading Msipa's book. But seriously irks me is this attitude of compartmentalizing Nkomo to be a regional leader when he was a true national leader. Nkomo and by extension Zapu were national leaders and hence they covered the whole country and not just Matabeleland. Nkomo saw himself first as a Zimbabwean and he wasn't too concerned when he hailed from and not this rubbish we see from the boy from Zvimba who wants to make the country a fiefdom of the Gushungos.

Inyika - 4 December 2015

Poor reporting by the Daily News to report on a story like this and not put it in its proper perspective. Why not remind us that despite Grace's utterances, Mugabe persecuted the old man for alleged high treason? A little inconvenient perhaps?

Tinos Mandizha - 6 December 2015

If Joshua was such a piece of cake, then why did Matibili try to kill him in Pelandaba suburb in Bulawayo

Ndabambi - 7 December 2015

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