By Justin Mahlahla and Wadzanai Mhombera

 

jnkomo.jpgThe legacy that was left by Father Zimbabwe, the late Dr. Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo is neither personal nor tribal. His is a national heritage that transcends political, social and economic spheres.

 

The name Joshua Nkomo is synonymous with various aspects of Zimbabwean life that range from the formerly-controversial but now irreversible land reform programme, the empowerment of youths to ubuntu.

 

 

It is no surprise then that Zimbabweans have recently been calling for the government to declare the 1st of July Joshua Nkomo Day. Yes, the day will serve to remind all and sundry that political freedom in Zimbabwe was a result of a long and protracted struggle for independence. It will remind the youths that they too have a share in the country’s cake of mineral wealth, vast professional possibilities and educational opportunities.

 

It will also awaken in them the sense of accountability and responsibility, for them to know that those who fought the white oppressors, in the mould of the likes of Dr. Nkomo, did so for their children to enjoy all that God bequeathed to the land and peoples of Zimbabwe.

 

The Joshua Nkomo Day will also remind those of us who are marinating and basking in the freedom and peace of the beloved motherland that whatever peace, whatever tranquility, whatever co-habitation exists today was once a dream that forced many brave sons and daughters of Zimbabwe to join the liberation struggle. Some died; some got maimed; some survived; all this constituting permanent reminders of the horrible times they went through.

 

Such are the cadres who sacrificed their dear lives to bring political, social and economic freedom to Zimbabwe, ensuring that the country ceases to be a colony again.

 

May God Almighty judge those who think the liberation struggle was joined by a bunch of men and women who had nothing better to do, who had scores to settle, who were uneducated and so needed a pastime to wish their miseries away. No, the war of liberation was a cause worth joining; Zimbabwe was a country worth fighting for and the future worth dying for.

 

Dr Nkomo was a strong proponent of the empowerment of blacks. He unequivocally emphasised that Zimbabwe’s natural resources, including the land and the minerals therein, should be exploited for the benefit of the indigenous majority.

 

One of those who did time together with the late Dr. Nkomo at Gonakudzingwa, Dr. Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, says Father Zimbabwe was instrumental in opening channels for the training of Zanu-Pf cadres in the Soviet Union, Libya and Zambia.

 

The late vice president was also key in facilitating adult education for incarcerated comrades in various detention centres and prisons around the country. Cde Ndlovu served under Dr. Nkomo specializing in encouraging others to get an education and it was while in detention at Gonakudzingwa, that Cde Ndlovu would arrange course material for the prisoners there and made sure that they got course materials on time.

 

He described the late nationalist as an icon in African nationalism and liberation movement politics for many years.

 

He had this to say: “Joshua Nkomo’s life was not any easy one. He suffered imprisonment and detention for almost 12 years and the ideas that kept him strong, were really the ideas for liberating Zimbabwe, which should be a democratic country, whereby human rights and dignity are respected and where the people of Zimbabwe own their natural resources, be it the land or minerals.

 

“As you know, now we have our God-given Chiadzwa diamonds and those are the resources that he predicted about, saying whatever we have not yet discovered which belongs to Zimbabwe, is for the people of Zimbabwe and not for external exploitation.

 

“Also his keen interest was in education, you know ZAPU and ZIPRA had a department of education which recruited young people to go for training and education.

 

“So he was able to open channels for the training of our cadres in Soviet Union, Libya, Zambia, so that cadres will come back and protect their country but not to fight among themselves.

 

“Even the youth empowerment and indigenisation we are talking about today, he started it a long time ago. It was on top of his mind to ensure that people are empowered and control their economy.

 

“Lastly, the issue of unity, even when things were not moving well he insisted on unity. All Zimbabweans regardless of race, colour, tribe or political origin, should remember him as a unifying force. Let us be focused and let the young ones emulate and follow the ideas he had for them for a better future in business, social issues and family.

 

“There is a young group known as Friends of Joshua, who are doing a very job and they need support so that they continue to meet other youths to sensitise them on Nkomo’s ideas.

 

“So yes, this day should be declared a public holiday, like Martin Luther King is a holiday in America, how can we not do it  ourselves? I would like to see us next year going on holiday on Joshua Nkomo Day.”

 

Indeed, legacies are meant to live forever. If we fail to immortalize the ideals of Dr. Joshua Nkomo we would have betrayed the founding father’s vision and the principles of the revolution.

 

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe has now and again called for all men and women, boys and girls, to emulate Father Zimbabwe and ensure his dreams live on.

 

Another prominent politician and Zanu-Pf National Chairman who is also Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo described Umdala Wethu as an icon of African nationalism and the liberation struggle which gave birth to the independence of Zimbabwe.

 

He said: “He was imbued with unique characteristics embracing the qualities of an extra-ordinary visionary, a leader who knew no tribe, region or creed, but who subscribed to the idea of a one Zimbabwe.

 

“His commitment to unity peace and development is eloquent testimony of an everlasting legacy.

 

“His sacrifices for many years and love for the people of Zimbabwe, Africa and the progressive mankind the world over, remain another testimony of his principled leadership.  Unity and land to the people were central to his heart.

 

“He was indeed a fountain of wisdom, a man of the people and indeed a great son of the soil. I worked with him for many, many years and I am ever grateful for what I managed to pick or learn from his advise, wisdom and leadership.

 

“I do believe and hope that that all of us, particularly the youths, must emulate the qualities of this great man, who was not only large in size but also large in his heart and indeed large in ideas, across the complexities of land re-distribution, in terms of re-building the country, economic, social and otherwise.

 

“We would be very far if we borrowed a leaf from some of his great ideas and I do hope myself that those of us who worked with him very closely will contribute to the development of this country by writing as much as we can and record the victories he scored in order to take us to where we are today.

 

“It is therefore a day to remember, not only to remember that he left us on this day in July 1999, but also to remember that he was a committed leader.

 

“He was committed to the growth and prosperity of this country, to the unity of his people and indeed to the restoration of land to its rightful owners.

 

“We are proud, of course, that the land issue has been solved once and for all and is now irreversible.

 

“The unity still remains a challenge but I believe that those who don’t cherish unity will realise that a divided nation is like a house built on sand.

 

“We must remain united as a people of Zimbabwe, particularly under the leadership of one of Zimbabwe’s greatest sons, who was very close throughout many years to the late Joshua Nkomo, that is, His Excellency, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

 

“Liberation movements are movements to cherish, to respect, to adore and indeed to learn from because for Zimbabwe to be free, we had to spill so much blood, thousands died, houses or homes were destroyed, a lot of property was lost.

 

“We cannot honour the heroes of the liberation struggle by creating divisions amongst ourselves because that will be an insult to them, including the late Father Zimbabwe.

 

“This is a day to take stock of our political issues, to take stock of ourselves as Zimbabweans and say to betray the late Dr Joshua Nkomo and others who have gone before or after him, would be to betray the revolution.

 

“We must, therefore, remain united under the liberation party which brought about independence to this country and that is the united ZANU-PF.

 

May again his soul rest in peace.”