Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

What Mugabe was to Joshua Nkomo

18 Jun 2017 at 10:12hrs | Views
On July 1, 2017, Zimbabwe commemorates the 18th anniversary of the death of Vice President Dr Joshua Nkomo. In the lead-up to the day, The Sunday Mail will publish a series of articles on Father Zimbabwe, the iconic leader of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle.

Reporter Tinashe Farawo spoke to Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development Sithembiso Nyoni who was also Minister of State in VP Nkomo's office. We publish Minister Nyoni in her own words.


I grew up knowing that there was Joshua Nkomo.

He became our role model, he was our hero.

I had a privilege of working in his office as a Minister of State.

The man was incorruptible and not selfish.

He never accumulated wealth for himself and today it is sad that some of our leaders are accumulating wealth at the expense of the people.

We need to learn to sacrifice just like what the old man did.

His moto was people first.

It is sad that nowadays it is the rich who are finding their way at the expense of the majority.

The politically clear and well-grounded people are relegated to the periphery. Some of the people in leadership today are not grounded on anything. Dr Nkomo was against such behaviour.

Josh was always connected to the people, he had a way of connecting with the people from villagers where we spent time interacting to everyone.

Our former Vice President, in short, was people centred.

He used to call President Mugabe umfana wami and he would say please you need to support him and be faithful to him.

That is why up to today some of us, we have worked with and are loyal to the President.

Those were the words he left us and we will continue working for the development of the country in fulfilment of his dream.

His dream was to have a united and non-tribal country. If you look at what he has done, it was people first, not what some amongst us are doing.

I am happy we have not forgotten what that giant did for our country.

We will continue to remember him.

He left an indelible mark in almost every Zimbabwean because his contribution for the development of this country is not in doubt.

Some of us really miss Dr Joshua Nkomo because he was a unifier.

He was a no nonsense taker. He did not only have a political vision, but also had an economic vision.

You can imagine he was instrumental in procuring machines to cut timber in Muzarabani and value addition in Nkayi, Lupane and Tsholotsho.

All those areas which had timber, he had found the machines to value add those raw materials.

We are trying to find out what happened to those machines.

I went to Italy with him to negotiate for those machines. He also secured machines to value add horticulture products.

I am glad that the machines in Norton are working. The other ones in Matabeleland North, I think Arda is doing something about them.

All those are some of the plenty of things that the visionary leader left us.

He built a hospital, Ekusileni in Bulawayo, and it is still standing although not being used.

Unfortunately in some cases we have let that old man down.

We have not followed his economic vision and his political vision of uniting this nation.

We need to continue to do that, uniting our people.

We need to pass that vision of uniting this country to future generations.

Dr Nkomo was a national leader, not a regional leader.

Everywhere you go you find his footprints.

His legacy is uniting all tribes, languages in this country and we want everyone to follow in those footsteps.

We really need to carry that legacy. Those are the things that he taught us that if you are a Zimbabwean be a unifier, you need to love the country.

Dr Nkomo was disciplined and during the liberation struggle he led a formidable army which was grounded on ideology of serving the people.

It was a people's army grounded on principles to live among the people, to love the people.

His contribution for the independence and development of this country is immeasurable.

The other most important thing was that the man sent a lot of people to school, he was passionate about ensuring that people were educated.

Even during the liberation struggle, hundreds went to school in Zambia and overseas.

Joshua Nkomo was people oriented and we would spend most of our time with the people on the ground.

We would spend time meeting people in the provinces just like with what is happening with President Mugabe who is on a nationwide tour meeting the people through the 'Presidential Youth Interface'.

That was Joshua Nkomo for you. He did not like to stay in the office.

We would travel the length and breadth of the country, hearing people's concerns and commissioning projects.

Dr Nkomo was a practical person. We would spend time empowering people in villages and communities.

He wanted to see an economically independent Zimbabwe.

He wanted to see an empowered society, that is why he was personally involved in the procurement of machines for tomato processing in Norton.

Umdhala Wethu would always say we must provide markets for our people in the communities because that was his dream for people of this country to be empowered.

He did not want us to depend on donations, but for people to work and be productive in all sectors of the economy.

The late Vice President wanted every Zimbabwean to be involved in the economic development of the country.

His vision was to ensure that we take full responsibility in developing our country, he wanted us as Zimbabweans to be masters of our own destiny.

He related well with staff but at the same time he was strict.

Dr Nkomo wanted his work to be done and at the same time he gave us enough space to work and think independently.

He would make everyone comfortable, from the office orderly right up to the Minister of State in his office.

Join Bulawayo24 Online Community
Source - zimpapers
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
More on: #Nkomo, #Mugabe, #Zapu