Joshua Nkomo was not a sell-out: Association defends late VP legacy

The chairperson of the Joshua Nkomo Legacy Restoration Trust, Mehluli Moyo, has expressed disappointment in young people, especially from Matabeleland who have been ridiculing and labelling the late nationalist, Joshua Nkomo, as a sell-out.

Moyo argued their criticism of Nkomo exposed their ignorance of the late national hero’s efforts to build and unify Zimbabwe.

He also said it was sad to hear such negative sentiments from local people, as such ridicule often came from other organisations that did not have a local orientation of Matabeleland.  

“It’s unfortunate that in as much as we want to focus on this, people who have looked down on Nkomo are from other organisations that were not associated with ZAPU. Today it’s embarrassing and painful that your children from this region, every day on social media are insulting Nkomo, labelling him a sell-out, saying this and that about him. That’s very bad,” Moyo said at a commemoration event to honour Joshua Nkomo organised by the ZPRA Veterans Trust on Saturday.

“They ridicule Nkomo at any opportunity they get, saying things they don’t know, without having sat with you to veterans to hear what happened (in and after the struggle).”

 Moyo said it was puzzling how individuals would want to blame Nkomo yet history would show he was a unifier and nationalist.

“Recently a young leader of one political organisation blamed Nkomo for Gukurahundi. That’s very sad. But it doesn’t matter. We tolerate people as they have their reasons. Maybe some people think they are going to be popular by criticizing Nkomo’s name in order to be recognised and be noticed. That is sad,” he said, adding that the Joshua Nkomo Legacy Restoration Trust understands ‘perfectly well’ the legacy of Joshua Nkomo.

“No one can tell us anything about Nkomo. Even the ZPRA veterans know that and are willing to protect Nkomo. We preserve, sustain and promote the legacy of Joshua Nkomo”

He also added that the Joshua Nkomo Legacy Restoration Trust was yet to host a commemoration event for Nkomo, which over the past two years were hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Every year, before Covid-19, we used to host big events to celebrate Joshua Nkomo because July 1 t is a very important day, unfortunately, due to Covid-19 there were changes but we are still going to celebrate as a trust,” said the chairperson.

“We will organise a massive event and send invitations to the ZPRA veterans to be part of that event as you have extended an invitation to us. When you say massive, someone might look at the numbers and say there were four or five people but what you need to understand is when you mention Joshua Nkomo’s name, a lot of things happen especially in this country.”

“We are not going to shy away from telling the truth. We must say it because when you are preparing for such events, you encounter challenges because you are dealing with Nkomo even when you mention ZPRA. People don’t want to say the truth and be very clear because their role in liberating this country is not clear.”

Moyo also urged ex-ZPRA fighters to document their wartime experiences.

“I think times are changing now, we need to stop complaining that no one is telling our history, we need to tell our history. You have children who are professionals, some are writers, some are in different fields including broadcasting. We need to tell our stories, as nobody will tell our stories,” Moyo summed.

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