ZAPU remembers ‘peaceful giant’ Joshua Nkomo

OPPOSITION ZAPU has joined the rest of the country in commemorating the 22nd anniversary of Vice President Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo’s death, describing him as the peaceful giant.

Affectionately known as Father Zimbabwe, Nkomo passed away on 1 July 1999 and was buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare after being declared a national hero.

In a statement, ZAPU spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said Father Zimbabwe’s anniversary was coming at a time when they recently commemorated the anniversaries of two other party stalwarts and after losing one of the greatest supporters of the party, the founding President of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda.

“The last two months have been very important for the mother party and Zimbabweans as we have been engrossed with memories of giants who played prominent roles in our quest for a dignified and free life,” said Maphosa.

“Linked in life, linked in the struggle and close to each other in their dates of death, in May we commemorated President Dabengwa’s second anniversary. Before the month was out, we lost one of the greatest supporters of ZAPU, President Kaunda of Zambia. Just this passing week, we were commemorating the passing of ZPRA Commander Gen Alfred Nikita Mangena. Today we remember the Big Josh, uMafukufuku kaNyongolo, our former President Joshua Nkomo.”

Maphosa described Nkomo as a rare breed of leadership in all Africa and the world.

“He spent most of his time during struggle years making efforts at peace and finding peaceful ways of resolving the Rhodesian problem,” he said.

“This was despite the military might that he commanded in ZPRA. After solving the colonial question in 1980, as he anticipated the beginning of a nation’s development agenda, antagonistic forces were soon up against him and everything he stood for. However, despite the available variety of choices to respond, President Nkomo again chose the narrow and lone path of a peaceful resolution to the conflict, displaying once again the rarest attributes of leadership in him.”

He said Nkomo was a man who passed the test and was a champion of the development agenda of the country and abhorred corruption, just as he abhorred violence.

Nkomo, Maphosa said, had utmost disdain for inequality “as is perpetuated today as policy by the ZANU PF government, where marginalisation is systematic and institutionalized by the Zimbabwean state.”

“With his continuous overtures at unity repeatedly rejected, President Nkomo did not deviate from his belief that every human being ought to be afforded a chance at a peaceful and harmonious existence,” said Maphosa.

“He believed peace was a by-product of unity and tolerance. He further believed development of a nation is only possible under a peaceful environment. These are beliefs we should adopt and emulate the late giant in perpetual hunt for the two ingredients for a sustained development of our country.”

The ZAPU spokesperson said while they commemorated the contributions of Nkomo to the nation, they were however saddened by the current state of affairs in Zimbabwe.

“For all intents and purposes, President Nkomo would have never allowed the degeneration that we witness under the violent, intolerant and economically bankrupt military regime in Zimbabwe, where rights are not observed, constitution is disregarded, state institutions are captured and corruption is the order of the day,” he decried.

“All these with absolute impunity. As we commemorate Dr Nkomo, let us all relive his values and we could, with little effort of our own, together live the African and Zimbabwean dream the way he imagined it. May the spirit of Joshua Nkomo live forever in us and guide our ways and efforts at finding the elusive Zimbabwean dream!”

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