LATE Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo’s son Sibangilizwe has taken the campaign to have July 1 declared a holiday in honour of his father to President Robert Mugabe.
Sibangilizwe, speaking at the commissioning of the new Joshua Mqabuko International Airport terminal building on Sunday, said people in Bulawayo already respected the day Nkomo died as a holiday. Mugabe looked pensive as Nkomo’s son delivered the speech where he also implored Zimbabweans to preserve his father’s legacy of tolerance and unity.
“Your excellence it is a pleasure that this airport is being opened in honour of my father umdalawethu sonke,” he said.
“My father no longer belonged to us only as a family, but to the entire Zimbabwe.
“It increases our gratitude that the nation still remembers him.
“Your excellence, it is my honour to announce that July 1 in Bulawayo has become the unofficial public holiday for us.”
Sibangilizwe and the Matojeni Cultural Association have been lobbying for July 1 to be declared a public holiday in honour of the late nationalist.
Early this year he said the government had not responded to their request hence the push to unilaterally declare the day a national holiday.
Mugabe is the only person empowered by law to declare a national holiday.
Meanwhile, The Joshua Nkomo National Foundation says there is no need for tight security around the late vice-president’s statue as all Zimbabweans should be free to view it without hassles.
Jabulani Hadebe, chief executive officer of the foundation, said the monument was secure and anybody thinking of stealing it “should bring a crane to remove it”.
“On security around the statue, Nkomo used to say if you are a leader, don’t be afraid of the people. The people are the ones that protect you,” Hadebe said.
“So we say, no one will be barred from viewing the statue. The statue is secure,” he said.
The site of the statue has been a hive of activity as scores of people continue to jostle to take photographs with their smartphones and other gadgets. The foundation managed to bring 100 people each from Nkomo’s village at St Josephs and some from the late uGogo Mafuyana’s clan in Mbembeswana for the unveiling. Mafuyana was Nkomo’s wife.
Guests were meant to dine at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, but that was shelved due to time constraints.