On 1 July 1999, Zimbabwe was thrown into total darkness, bewilderment, uncertainty, disbelief, national pain and shock for Father Zimbabwe, Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo departed this world.

This was said by Zanu PF spokesperson, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo in a statement to mark 20 years after the death of Father Zimbabwe.

The Late Vice President and founding nationalist Dr Nkomo was a national leader who played a leading role in fostering unity in the country.

“He was not only a nationalist of national standing, but a leader of immense courage who hated tribalism, regionalism and racism to the marrow. He led from the front with precision, throughout the years of the protracted liberation struggle until victory in 1980,’’ Cde Khaya Moyo said.

Cde Khaya Moyo said Zimbabweans cherished the good works of Dr Nkomo, describing him as a man of purpose who was determined to achieve peace, humanity and national unity by always putting the interests of the nation above his own.

“He was never power-hungry hence his signing of the Unity Accord between the two former liberation movements, Zapu and Zanu, in December 1987 to speed the process of unity and peace. He loved humanity and was a man of purpose, principle, perseverance, charisma and prayer,” Cde Khaya Moyo said.

“It was a painful moment; it is still painful today and will be for times ahead,” said Cde Moyo who was a special assistant to the late Father Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, commemorations to mark 20 years after the death of Dr Nkomo are underway at Bulawayo’s White City Stadium.