COMMENT: Let us all remember and emulate Father Zimbabwe’s works

01 Jul, 2022 - 00:07 0 Views
COMMENT: Let us all remember and emulate Father Zimbabwe’s works The late Dr Joshua Nkomo

The Chronicle

TODAY we mark the 23rd anniversary of the death of Dr Joshua Nkomo.

The former Vice-President died of prostate cancer aged 82.  It was a gloomy moment hearing the then President Cde Robert Mugabe breaking the sad news live on radio and national television at around 9am on July 1, 1999.  Life stood still as Zimbabweans from all walks of life took it in that indeed, the giant both in frame and national service had left.

Ian Smith

Here was a man who was at the forefront of the nationalist movement in the country; the man who led the first black political parties in the country — the African National Congress, the National Democratic Party and later Zapu. He fought the liberation struggle as commander-in-chief of Zapu’s military wing, Zipra.

Facing two formidable armies — Zipra and Zanla — on multiple fronts, Rhodesian leader Ian Smith, clearly lost it on the field. That was the ultimate leverage that Dr Nkomo and his colleagues in Zanu and Zanla needed to force Smith to dialogue for a dignified exit that the Rhodesian and his fellow white settlers did not deserve.

The late Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe and the late Cde Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo after signing the Unity Accord in 1987

Dr Nkomo was a trade unionist and a nationalist who put national interest ahead of his personal comfort. He was dedicated to the liberation of his country and its post-Independence development.

He was for national unity which is why he, together with Cde Mugabe signed the Unity Accord on December 22, 1987. He was a truly national icon, much loved in Gokwe, Chiredzi, Guruve, Chipinge and Uzumba as he was loved in Kezi, Tsholotsho, Binga and Gwanda. In the east, they nicknamed him Chibwechitedza. In the west, they nicknamed him Umdala Wethu. Elsewhere they called him Father Zimbabwe. That is probably the reason why he loathed tribalism and regionalism.

His patriotism was unexampled. He loved his country more than he loved himself and his family. His children have told us many times how they grew up like they were fatherless when, in fact, their father was in colonial jails and in Zambia fighting for freedom.

We draw many lessons from his character and national service.

President Mnangagwa

President Mnangagwa, elsewhere in this issue, pays a glowing tribute to Dr Nkomo.

“The late Father Zimbabwe, the former Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, just the name Father Zimbabwe already speaks volumes as to who that person was, was the father of our nationalism in Zimbabwe from as early as the early 1950s. So, it is necessary that we keep his memory alive from generation to generation.

“It is the duty for us the leaders today to make sure that we observe and commemorate his life. Now, the first of July will be the 23rd anniversary of his death so we remember him for his contribution and sacrifice throughout his life, he lived for this country, he struggled for this country, he went to war for this country and today we are free.”

Ekusileni Medical Centre

As the President said, we want Zimbabweans, the ordinary people and the leadership, to remember and strive to emulate his works. It is a tough ask to emulate Dr Nkomo’s works, we acknowledge, but let us all try.

We are happy that the Government is working very hard to preserve Dr Nkomo’s legacy. The museum that captures Dr Nkomo’s story in Bulawayo is being taken care of. Ekusileni Medical Centre, which was his idea, is being well kept and is no longer a white elephant. The President’s remarks also demonstrate the respect that his Government has for Dr Nkomo.

We, indeed are happy to be remembering the life, works and legacy of this national icon.

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