BY IRENE MOYO
THE opposition Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) party has expressed anger over the removal of the shield signage at the Joshua Mqabuko International Airport in Bulawayo.
Zapu described it a humiliation of the people of Matabeleland.
Workmen at the airport were seen on May 5 taking down the shield replacing it with new signage which carries the colours of the national flag and the court of arms.
The battle shield is a priceless emblem for the people of Matabeleland having been inherited down generations from the days of the last paramount king, Lobengula.
Zapu said it suspected that the shield, which signifies the Ndebele kingdom, was removed following an order from Harare.
Zapu president Sibangilizwe Nkomo, who visited the airport yesterday, described the removal of the shield signage as humiliation for the people of Matabeleland.
“It is very clear that there is a deliberate sustained and systematic effort not only to undermine, but to humiliate the people of Matabeleland,” Nkomo said.
“Firstly, the holiest shrine in this region is the Njelele Shrine. It has on several occasions been desecrated and attacked. In Bhalagwe a memorial stone placed as an epitaph to remember victims of the Gukurahundi genocide has been removed on several occasions. Early this year, that shrine was blasted into pieces using explosive devices.”
Nkomo said the shield signage that was removed served a purpose as it signified protection, adding that its removal should be considered an offence.
“The shield was a sign of protection against colonialism and oppression. Joshua Nkomo (the late Vice-President) comes from Matabeleland, but his remains were buried at the Heroes Acre in Harare. He must be turning in his grave. This is unacceptable, and we won’t be surprised to one day to wake up to the news that Nkomo’s grave has been desecrated,” he said.