Joshua Nkomo’s son warns Zanu PF

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THE son of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, Sibangilizwe, has cautioned Zanu PF against using his father’s name for electioneering saying “Nkomo’s name should not be soiled in search of power”.

By Nqobile Bhebhe, Chief Reporter

Sibangilizwe said this in the wake of Zanu PF Bulawayo Province rolling out activities to commemorate the death of Nkomo.

Nkomo died on July 1 1999 and Sibangilizwe says there will be celebrations to mark the 14th anniversary of his death at Stanley Square, Makokoba.

Sibangilizwe has vowed to use this year’s occasion to unilaterally declare July 1 as “Joshua Nkomo and Liberators’ Day”.

He told Southern Eye that organisations sprouting ahead of the commemorations seemed bent on cashing in on Nkomo’s name while others sought cheap political mileage.

“It is clear that I have shaken them up (Zanu PF) from their deep slumber” Sibangilizwe said.

“I just read in the papers that Zanu PF is planning to roll out commemorations in July.

“However, as we have entered the election season, it will be unfortunate for them (Zanu PF) to use my father’s name, which is a brand, to gain votes.

“Nkomo’s names should be associated with productive works and not in the negative.”

Asked if there is a stampede to preserve Nkomo’s name, Sibangilizwe said, “all genuine efforts to keep Nkomo’s name alive are welcome. But this should be with good intent”.

He said the family has not been consulted by Zanu PF, saying that has become the norm.

Zanu PF has declared July 1 to 5 as “a special week to commemorate the life of the late Vice-President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo”.

On Thursday, Bulawayo provincial chairman Callistus Ndlovu told the media that several activities have been lined up in the first week of July.

Some of the activities will include exhibitions, lectures and entertainment by cultural groups.

Observers say Zanu PF hopes to lure the electorate and regain popularity ahead of polls through association with the Nkomo brand.

Plans to honour Nkomo through the mounting of a life-size statue in Bulawayo along Main Street flopped due to lack of funding after an initial attempt was reversed as the Nkomo family complained over government’s unilateral decision.

Main Street, one of the major roads in Bulawayo, was also supposed to be renamed after Nkomo, but this is yet to be done.

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