via Nation honours Father Zimbabwe | The Herald December 23, 2013 by Farirai Machivenyika
President Mugabe yesterday unveiled the statue of the late Dr Joshua Nkomo in Bulawayo and took a swipe at elements in the country who were betraying the values promoted by the late Vice President by working with former colonial power Britain and her allies to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle.
Apart from placing the towering statue at the centre of Zimbabwe’s second city, the nation has honoured Dr Nkomo by naming Main Street “Joshua Nkomo Street”.
President Mugabe also commissioned the newly-rehabilitated Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport.
The honours were fittingly bestowed on Unity Day, which is the annual celebration of the Unity Accord signed between President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and Dr Nkomo’s PF-ZAPU on December 22, 1987.
Just before unveiling the statue, President Mugabe said the statue of Dr Nkomo told the story of Zimbabwe’s struggles and aspirations.
“The statue we are gathered here to officially unveil and the street we have renamed are the real story of Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans, our struggles and our aspirations as a people.
“That story is embodied in the person of Dr Nkomo. Both the statue and the renamed street commemorate and are a tribute to Dr Nkomo for his leadership, his dedication and his ability to translate the aspirations of Zimbabweans,” President Mugabe said.
He said the late Vice President was a humble person as indicated by his refusal to take up the post of President in 1980. President Mugabe revealed there were attempts to get Dr Nkomo to take up the presidency with the former assuming the post of Prime Minister.
While President Mugabe did take up the Premiership, which he held until the constitutional creation of the Executive Presidency, it was Reverend Canaan Banana who was to become President.
Turning to people who were desecrating Dr Nkomo’s legacy by denigrating the values of the liberation struggle, President Mugabe said: “To those who are working with the enemy, can’t you realise the suffering the people had to bear? The death and injuries upon them as they waged the liberation struggle and you dare to work with the British against us your people.
“Ndiri kutaura nemastances of the MDC to be running to Britain and America to work against us . . . that is a bit too much no, no, no. It is treason of the worst kind and that also is an act of infidelity, unloyalty to Umdala Wethu.”
President Mugabe said Dr Nkomo played many roles in fighting for the country’s independence.
“As we commemorate this Unity Day, we do so to particularly remember the many roles that Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo played in fighting for this country’s independence.
“His clear vision and leadership were invaluable in shaping the new Zimbabwe that was created on 18 April, 1980. He had become affectionately known to us as Father Zimbabwe, Umdala Wethu, Chibwechitedza, Mwana Wevhu a true son of the soil,” he said.
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces also called on war veterans who have been split by factionalism to resolve their differences and be united.
“Yesterday you were under his (Dr Nkomo’s) command, yesterday he was telling you to go to that area, that area and you were saying yes sir. Now that he is gone do you think now that he is in the grave he can be disobeyed.
“To the war veterans I say you fought one war whether under Zanla or Zipra, get back together,” he said.
“These are the ones, who really make me cry because they were under us, under our command, they should be united. You settle your contradictions through discussions and hear each other; so I make that appeal, come back I don’t say that to anaTsvangirai, they can go hang those ones.”
He said now that ZANU-PF had regained sole control of Government via the landslide victory in the July 31 elections, the party would address the plight of war veterans and their dependants.
Earlier in the day, President Mugabe commissioned Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport at a ceremony that was attended by hundreds of people.
The airport was formerly called Bulawayo Airport and is located about 20km north of the city.
He called on young Zimbabweans to emulate the great works of departed heroes.
“That remembrance must always be there and the threesome commissioning (of the airport, statue and street) we are doing today is meant to instil in the minds of those who will follow us tomorrow that the great ones who sacrificed are gone but before you go follow in their footsteps,” he said.
President Mugabe said Zimbabweans should never allow the country’s enemies to subvert the will of the people, saying the land issue was central to the nation’s struggle.
“The land grievance was number one and the other grievances would come after. This is how the struggle was fought even when we went to Lancaster to negotiate we never forgot that the land was the main question,” he said.
President Mugabe said Zimbabweans’ resolve to control their resources differentiated its struggle from others across the world.
He said it was important that young people be taught the significance of the country’s independence.
“We need also to impress on our young people going to tertiary institutions that if there is no realisation in them that they are inheritors of the struggle that was fought to get them to these universities they would have missed out on important knowledge.
“There is need to know political history of the country, the significance of the struggle that was fought and the need for all of us to defend our hard earned sovereignty,” he said.
President Mugabe said every Zimbabwean should be proud of their country and be able to speak well about it and defend it at any forum.
Government took the decision to rename the airport in 2002 with the ground-breaking ceremony taking place in 2003.
Construction of the new terminal was expected to last two years but was hampered by a lack of financial resources due to the effects of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West in response to the revolutionary Fast-Track Land Reform Programme.
“The completion of Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport is one of the quick wins of our new economic blueprint, Zim-Asset. As we celebrate Unity Day today, we are at the same time celebrating yet another milestone towards the fulfilment of our economic blueprint.
“I urge the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to urgently complete the remaining phases of this project and they then should move on to other airports at Kariba, Buffalo Range and Mutare,” he said.
Yesterday, President Mugabe also handed over computers to Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Primary School that were donated by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.