ZANU PF has been in the habit of invoking the name of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo each time it faces an election, but do nothing to secure his legacy once it wins.
There was pomp and fun fare last year when the Friends of Joshua Trust and other organisation set up an exhibition in Victoria Falls during the United Nations World Tourism Organsisation (UNTWO) assembly.
The exhibition was in the form of a pictogram that captured Nkomo’s life.
A metal cell, which he reportedly lived in when he was detained at Gonakudzingwa Restriction Camp in Masvingo, was used as part of a cultural village constructed at Elephant Hills Hotel.
However, the material has been left to rot due to neglect and Nkomo’s legacy is literally in tatters.
This lends credence to criticism that Nkomo’s name and history is only invoked when Zanu PF politicians want a favour from a population that still reveres the country’s founding father.
The Zimbabwe cultural village in Victoria Falls was a partnership between the Tourism ministry, Friends of Joshua Trust and Mateji Resettlement village.
It was meant to depict and celebrate the country’s diverse and rich culture as well as preserve the nation’s cultural heritage.
For some time, the government has been under pressure to complete legacy projects that were mooted in Nkomo’s honour.
Last year, there was finally some action with the completion of the Joshua Mqabuko International Airport and a statue in Bulawayo.
The projects were completed after over a decade of prodding and false promises from the government.
A gesture such as the one by those behind the Victoria Falls cultural village should have received support from the government.
The sad developments point to a need to control the use of Nkomo’s name.
Those who undertake to carry out projects in the late politician’s honour should have proven means to carry them through to avoid situations in future where Nkomo’s name is put into disrepute.
The neglect of the material in Victoria Falls may suggest that people behind the project were only interested in the hype that surrounded UNTWO assembly, taking advantage of Nkomo’s name.