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'Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo is never forgotten'

by Sibangilizwe Nkomo
01 Jul 2021 at 12:13hrs | Views

The 1st of July is undoubtedly one of the most significant days in the Zimbabwean calender. This is because the day marks the demise of Zimbabwe's Founding Father, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo. There is no doubt in my mind that Joshua Nkomo ranks amongst the finest of Zimbabwe's sons as a veteran of the Liberation struggle, icon of unity, giant of the freedom that our people enjoy and indeed an embodiment of Zimbabwe's ideals. We have the responsibility to teach generations to come who this great man was, is and continues to be in the political discourse of Zimbabwe. It is our responsibility to make sure that the name Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo is never forgotten. As a result, I join the call by certain sections of our people who have been calling for this day to be declared a Public Holiday.

As we remember Dr Nkomo, who I am privileged to have known as my father and humbled to at the same time see as a statesman, we must remind each other what he stood for and reflect on his legacy. This man that we rightly call Father Zimbabwe demonstrated that when we are faced with injustice or any form of oppression, we must rise and fight it. His life was that of fighting different social ills ranging from colonialism, racism, tribalism and sadly a genocide that wiped most of the people that had stood with him during the dark days of the Liberation struggle. Though persecuted by both the imperialist regime and the first government of this country, he rose above his own personal emotions and misgivings and chose a path of Peace, Unity, Equality and Forgiveness. Very few amongst us could do that. There is no doubt that Most Zimbabweans would agree with me when I say that my father bit the bullet against all the odds and took a path that many would not have taken had they been in his shoes when the situation demanded.

It is an open secret that most would have wanted him to go pound for pound with government forces during the genocide of 1982 - 1987, where more than 20 000 innocent civilians were butchered by the Fifth Brigade in the Matabeleland, Midlands, and Masvingo areas.

The great appetite for violence that we witness today is inconsistent with what Joshua Nkomo stood for. He would never encourage violence, worse by organs of State that must protect the same citizens that they now brutalise. Umdala, was never a blood thirsty leader who would sacrifice opportunities to make peace just to see his fellow Zimbabweans suffering and the country being torn apart just for political expedience.

He rightfully chose to make peace and it is this peace that we continue to enjoy to this day, albeit the bouts of violence particularly around election periods. The gun liberated us and now must protect the ballot and pen and not be used to guide or manipulate it as at times has been the case. Some might not be in agreement today that the choice of reconciliation was the best for our country. But I believe that Umdala Wethu made a wise decision and that decision saved thousands if not millions of lives.

My father was not only a peacemaker but also a great nation builder who believed in a great and economically sound Zimbabwe and African continent. The many properties that Zapu had are testament of both visionary leadership and economic foresight. It is sad that the government confiscated those properties on spurious allegations and to this day refuses to hand them back to the rightful owners. As we celebrate uMdala, I call on government to hand back Zapu and ZPRA properties to the rightful owners. The disregard for land and property rights in this country is not what my father fought for.

We have many, amongst us today, who speak of the values and virtues that ubaba espoused in his political career. However, while they speak well of him and his values, they have found it very difficult to live by the dictates of those values.

Dr Nkomo and many others sacrificed their lives so that we all can have a better life and not so that a few individuals can loot and enrich themselves. The levels of corruption that we witness today are a reversal of what my father's generation fought for. The fact that corruption has become so brazen and the corrupt walk free is an insult to his legacy.

We must ask ourselves today if this country is reflective of what Dr Nkomo fought for. Surely, that cannot be the case. How can it be when the youth are unemployed and are instead used as tools for political violence. Joshua Nkomo led the youth to fight for a Zimbabwe where young people will be employed and not just be members of a National Service that brutalises its parents and fellow youth.
The Zimbabwe dream as envisaged by Dr Nkomo has been betrayed. That is why Zapu pulled out from Zanu Pf which my father had taken temporary refuge in to protect not only his life but the lives of all that were in danger of a certain death during Gukurahundi. Surely, a currency that has no real value is a betrayal of the aspirations of our people. Surely, the brain drain is evidence that our country has no capacity to take care of our people or promote their self actualization. Clearly, our hospitals are evidence of gross incompetence and deliberate neglect by leaders who have an option of getting medical care abroad. The state of our hospitals is embarrassing and shameful.

Joshua Nkomo believed in the need for decent housing for the people of Zimbabwe. He believed that a people could be respected if they had accommodation that is habitable and within the world approved standards. It is unfortunate that today we witness the destruction of people's houses on the basis that those houses were illegally constructed in areas that are either reserved for drainages or wetlands. One wonders how this is possible when we have departments that provide oversight. To respond by demolition is not only insensitive but also cruel and inhumane.

Joshua Nkomo had a vision for various sectors such as health, business, water provision and many others. He had envisioned that at a certain point in time, Zimbabwe will have grown to such an extent that it would then need some services and infrastructure expanded so that it is able to carry the weight of the growing economy and population.

Projects such as the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project and Ekusileni (Specialist) Medical Centre, are some projects that he had, working with some like-minded Zimbabweans developed as a way of responding to the prospects of an increased population whose demands would be diverse going forward.

However, most of those projects have either gone under the water or are still said to be under progression, with the present day government making token disbursements towards the furtherance of these projects.

Most of these projects have become a subject for political campaigns each time an election in Zimbabwe beckons.

As we commemorate the 22 anniversary of the passing on of ubaba on July 1, I would like to implore every Zimbabwean to look back at the journey that we have traversed so far since his passing on and ask him or herself whether they have been true to themselves and their contribution to the attainment of those dreams that ubaba and other well-meaning Zimbabweans, at the time, had for Zimbabwe.

We need to re-calibrate our compass and re-focus our energies towards building a Zimbabwe that people like ubaba uJoshua Nkomo and other luminaries had in their minds.

There is need for us as a people to rescue our country from certain doom by going back to the vision that our predecessors had. We have a responsibility not to only correct what went wrong but also to finish the business that our fathers left unfinished. The time has come and the time is now.

I have made a bold decision, having been asked by our people, to lead the process of building the Zimbabwe envisaged by those who fought in the Liberation struggle and those who supported them. I have taken up the challenge to build a country that our young people desire. In a bid to do this, I have committed to taking up the mantle of the leadership of Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU). I thus call upon the children of all Zapu and ZPRA stalwarts to come home and build the legacy of our fathers. We cannot allow their efforts to go down the drain. We too cannot allow their names to fade into oblivion. Our fathers and mothers can only be celebrated as luminaries in Zapu and nowhere else.

I also call upon all those who have believed in Joshua Nkomo to come back to his party so that we together can build the Zimbabwe he envisaged and liberated. I call upon every patriotic Zimbabwean to commit to this cause of securing the future of Zimbabwe for our children and for generations to come. I call upon those who for the last decade worked with the giant of our struggle and intelligence Supremo, our past president Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, to continue to hold fort in the party. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The time for Zapu has come!

I would like to assure all those that believe in me that I will not disappoint them. I will work towards attaining the set goals of reviving the party and ensuring that it stands as a party of choice in Zimbabwe.

Finally, I call on every Zimbabwean who has attained the age of 18 to go and register to vote. This right to vote was acquired through the blood, sweat and sacrifice of our forbearers. Let's not allow their effort to go to waste.

We deserve better and I promise to play my part in achieving the dreams of a better Zimbabwe.
Long live the spirit of Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo

I thank you

Source - Sibangilizwe Nkomo