Workmen and officials from the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe descended on the site at the intersection of Main Street and 8th Avenue in Bulawayo at around 9pm.
They worked until about 10.35pm when the statue was loaded by a crane onto a waiting lorry, as police were on standby to control the crowd of bewildered on-lookers.
An official with the NMMZ said the statue would be taken to a warehouse, but would not say where.
Earlier during the day, Mr Edward Ginqusaba Nkomo, the brother to Dr Nkomo who said he is the head of Nkomo family, called for fresh consultations about the statue and said the project should not be abolished.
He told journalists at a media conference that he was disappointed because he was never consulted about the erection of the statue, its design, location and size.
“I would like to apologise to the nation for having kept quiet on this issue for such a long time but enough is enough. I will speak on this issue because as the traditional head of the family I have not been consulted by anyone including those who have been making statements in the media and even Government itself has not consulted me at any time.
“The picture that has been used is one of the worst pictures of my late brother and appropriate consultations with the appropriate members of the family would have resulted in the identification of a more suitable picture,” said Mr Nkomo.
He, however, said the pulling down of the statue should be accompanied by a shift in attitude from Government and all concerned.
“An attitude epitomised by a culture of consultation and inclusiveness is needed at this stage to avoid anmother tragic mistake,” he said.
Earlier yesterday, the move to pull down the statue of the late Vice President gave rise to mixed reactions among Bulawayo residents with some arguing that it should not be removed.
Traffic had to be blocked in the early hours of yesterday and police were on guard as scores of people thronged the site to have a glimpse of the statue while others jostled to take photographs using cellphones.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Moses Mzila Ndlovu also joined the debate and affirmed his solidarity with the Nkomo family saying he was bitter about the manner in which the statue issue was handled from the onset.
“I am very bitter that the statue was made by foreigners and worse still, they failed to come up with a true replica of Dr Nkomo’s image,” said Mr Mzila.
“Kasikhitshwe isithombe lesi (the statue has to be removed) and the people behind the project must be fired from work because they wasted public funds by failing to make a proper thing.”
Speaking in separate interviews, other residents said Government should engage the family instead of removing the statue.
“Government should engage the Nkomo family and talk to them over this issue and let the statue remain,” said a woman from Luveve, who only identified herself as Mrs Mpofu.
“Nkomo was a national figure and anything that is done about him cannot be confined to narrow interests because it concerns every Zimbabwean. If the statue is removed, that would be a waste of public funds and yet the family which is so vocal on this matter did not pay anything into that project.”
Mr Nkathazo Murefu, who resides in the city, agreed that the statue did not capture the true image of Nkomo but said it should not be removed.
“I am of the opinion that the statue should stay because there is not much to condemn except that the pedestal is low,” said Mr Murefu.
“As far as I am concerned, the ordinary eye sees Nkomo and there is no need for analysing specifications about the statue.”
Miss Beaula Dube from Sizinda accused the Nkomo family of arrogance and said it was very unfair for the family to call for the pulling down of the statue.
“That will be grossly unfair and to ask for its pulling down is a bit extreme. It could be a big error on the part of Government to concede to that,” she said.
Government on Wednesday announced that it would pull down the statue of Dr Nkomo citing reservations raised by the Nkomo family and the Bulawayo community.
The Nkomo family, led by her daughter Mrs Nkomo-Ebrahim, objected to the erection of the statue on the grounds that it did not capture the exact attributes of the late Vice President and that Government did not involve them in the whole project.
The erection of the late Dr Nkomo’s statue has since inception been characterised by tensions between the Nkomo family and the Government, with the former demanding absolute command on the project.