ZANU PF has come under fire after it abandoned its planned week-long commemorations of late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s death, just after three days.
Nkomo’s vocal son Sibangilizwe, who organised a successful event in memory of his father last Monday, said Zanu PF had demonstrated that it did not care about the man popularly known as Father Zimbabwe.
Zanu PF Bulawayo Province cancelled the commemorations on Thursday after its officials were summoned to Harare for the launch of the party’s election manifesto the following day.
Residents who spoke to Southern Eye said it was worrying that all projects and activities meant to commemorate Nkomo’s life were being done half heartedly.
“We were not told that the meeting had been cancelled,” Nkanyiso Siziba, referring to a lecture that was scheduled for Nkomo’s historic Pelandaba house on Thursday, said.
“We came here to learn about Nkomo, but we were disappointed to be told there was no longer a meeting. It shows great disrespect.”
National Association of Non-governmental Organisations chairperson Effie Ncube said Zanu PF had shown that it had no respect for Nkomo and the people.
“They have no respect for people who are gathered to advance causes that have nothing to do with them winning the elections,” he said.
“They have complete disrespect for Nkomo’s legacy and they are just pretenders who are not committed to anything to do with Nkomo.”
Ncube said people should respect and continue celebrating Nkomo’s life with or without Zanu PF.
Matabeleland Civil Society Forum spokesperson Dumisani Nkomo said Zanu PF behaviour had been expected, as the party had not done anything meaningful to preserve the veteran nationalist’s legacy.
“It’s not surprising. They have never been serious about Nkomo, They never will and they should not be taken seriously,” he said.
“If we expect anything for Nkomo from them, we will be asking for too much because they have never done anything meaningful for the past 14 years. “What will make them do something now?”
Nkomo said Zanu PF had failed to complete most of the projects in honour of Zapu’s founding leader including “simply” naming a street after the late liberation hero.
He said on the other hand, the party had managed to name some streets after Mugabe throughout the country.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association co-ordinator Rodrick Fayayo said it was unfair for Zanu PF to abruptly cancel the Nkomo public lectures without formally notifying residents.
“There is nothing new about what Zanu PF has done,” he charged.
“It is not about Nkomo alone, but about what they have been doing to the people of Matabeleland.
“It’s not surprising. It’s something they will continue doing without shame, but they will regret come elections.”
Fayayo said Zanu PF only think of Nkomo and people of Matabeleland when they want to be voted for.
Bulawayo Agenda director Thabani Nyoni said Zanu PF was very consistent and predictable.
“They have always participated in events that have to do with them and their political mileage only,” he said. “They have moved on and they can only use those events for the benefit of their party and not as commemorations for the whole country.”
Some of the projects meant to commemorate Nkomo’s death that remain incomplete 14 years after his death, include the mounting of statues in Bulawayo and Harare, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport and Ekusileni Medical Centre.