Zimbabweans are this month commemorating the 21st anniversary of the death of Father Zimbabwe, Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo. Dr Nkomo succumbed to prostate cancer at the age of 82.
UMdala Wethu, Father Zimbabwe, Chibwechitedza, was the champion of unity and even at his deathbed was preaching unity. July is therefore a special month for Zimbabweans as it affords them an opportunity to reflect on the rich legacy of one of Zimbabwe’s liberation icons who always preached unity and oneness.
This year many commemorative events had to be shelved due Covid-19 which restricts gatherings but as Dr Nkomo’s son Mr Sibangilizwe Nkomo said, failure to hold gatherings should not prevent the public from reflecting on Father Zimbabwe’s teachings.
Dr Nkomo’s wish was to see Zimbabweans of all races united and this desire for a united Zimbabwe saw him leading the then PF Zapu to sign the 1987 Unity Accord with Zanu-PF.
Dr Nkomo must be smiling in his grave because one of the goals he worked hard to achieve was the equitable distribution of the country’s finite resource which is land.
He spoke passionately about the need to correct the skewed land ownership and at many fora he warned whites who wanted to continue clinging onto the land that they risked igniting another revolution.
The issue of land, Dr Nkomo said, was the main reason why Zimbabwe’s sons and daughters took up arms to fight the settler regime. More than 300 000 families have been allocated land in areas that used to be a preserve of white commercial farmers.
Dr Nkomo always emphasised the need to be productive, saying the land should sustain the livelihoods of all Zimbabweans. The first part of Dr Nkomo’s struggle of ensuring that the landless blacks were allocated land has been fulfilled and what is outstanding is putting this land to productive use.
Farmers should therefore ensure they do not disappoint the late Dr Nkomo who will definitely turn in his grave if the land is not used productively. The late Vice-President believed that Zimbabwe had qualified human resources in many sectors of the economy hence he was against people seeking services from outside the country.
It was his strong belief in Zimbabweans’ capacity to provide specialist medical services that he initiated the establishment of the specialist medical centre, Ekusileni in Bulawayo. The 200-bed hospital which was built at a cost of $4 million in 2000, has been lying idle because of a number of challenges.
The hospital which was funded by the National Social Security (Nssa) briefly operated in 2004 but was forced to close due to lack of working capital. The good news is that Cabinet recently approved that the hospital be transformed into a specialist teaching and research hospital under the National University of Science and Technology (Nust).
We want to once again say as we celebrate Dr Nkomo’s rich legacy, let us emulate his good works that united us as a nation. It is only through unity of purpose that Zimbabwe can overcome the many challenges that the country is facing.
The major challenge is to turnaround the economy and this is only possible when, as a nation, we have a shared vision. This is the message that Dr Nkomo always preached.