HomeNewsLocalMystery shrouds Nkomo statue

Mystery shrouds Nkomo statue

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MYSTERY shrouds the failure to unveil the statue of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo at the intersection of Main Street and 8th Avenue in Bulawayo’s central business district.

LINDA CHINOBVA
OWN CORRESPONDENT

The statue was initially erected at the same intersection in 2010, but was pulled down before being officially unveiled after the veteran nationalist’s family and some city residents complained that the pedestal on which it was mounted as well as the statue were too small for a man of his stature.

The family and residents said Nkomo was from a generation of freedom fighters who taught the values of selflessness, humanity, integrity and respect for one another and his statue should reflect such values.

They said this would ensure stories of courage and determination were told in full and become part of a new and inclusive narrative for Zimbabwe.

Work to raise the pedestal started, but was later abandoned after the government cited lack of funds.

Construction then resumed in August 2011, but the lengthy construction period caused anger among Bulawayo motorists because of the traffic chaos created by the site in the middle of a busy intersection.

Motorists have complained that construction has been going on for far too long and the chaos has been worsening during traffic peak hours.

Speculation had been mounting last week that the giant statue would be unveiled by President Robert Mugabe on Friday when he came to officiate at the National University of Science and Technology graduation ceremony.

Mugabe operationalised the new Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport terminal last Friday when his Air Zimbabwe jet became the first plane to use the new facilities.

Workmen at the statue construction site were also observed working feverishly ahead of Mugabe’s visit to Bulawayo, but they reverted to their business-as-usual pace after it became apparent that they were no longer under any pressure to complete the construction of the pedestal.

Moira Fitzpatrick, director of the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe in charge of the construction site, said the date of the unveiling had not yet been set.

“We are not aware of any development,” Fitzpatrick said.

“The president will come to Bulawayo and officially unveil the statue when it is complete,” she said.

Fitzpatrick indicated that construction was already one week behind schedule as it should have been completed last week.

“The statue is taking long to be mounted because we want it to be correct and properly done as it is to honour the works of the late vice-president,” she said.

She added that the statue should be finalised before the end of this year.

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