OPPOSITION Zapu has blasted the secessionist Mthakwazi Liberation Front (MLF) for casting aspersions over the late Father Zimbabwe Joshua Nkomo’s rich legacy.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
This was after former MLF leader Fidelis Ncube, popularly known as General Nandinandi, last week tore into Nkomo’s legacy, describing it as questionable.
Ncube claimed the late VicePresident let down his Zapu followers and, indeed, the people of Matabeleland region by making decisions which left “its poor suffering and in pain”.
But Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa said the criticism was unfair.
“Nkomo, who died two decades ago, is not here to respond to unfair accusations being levelled against him at the political midgets’ convenience,” Maphosa said in response.
“The greatest dictator of our time (the late former President Robert) Mugabe, being enabled by the likes of (President) Emmerson Mnangagwa and (the late) Enos Nkala, spent his entire political life in the shadow of Nkomo’s legacy which a lot of failed individuals are trying to find relevance from. Mugabe and his legion of mercenaries failed before and today’s recruits will also fail,” he said.
The ex-MLF leader said the region had remained poor because Nkomo did not consult his peers on key political decisions.
“The reason we are where we are today is all because of wasting precious time heaping praises on Joshua Nkomo.
His inability to listen to nobody else except himself and his dangerous detractors, his lack of trust in his own people, his lack of consultation and unilateral decision making, has led us to where we are today,” Ncube argued.
“If the constitution of Zapu had been followed and put into practice, much of the tragedy that befell Zapu, its members and cadres could have been avoided.
“Even the question of laying down arms and surrendering them to the people’s enemy, Zanu PF, could have been put to
congress, and I doubt if it could have been approved by a popular members’ vote.
“Even the question of entering into the 1987 Unity Accord negotiations with Zanu PF could have been put to the test of the people’s congress, which would have charted the way forward and even elected a negotiation team fully representative of all organs of Mthwakazi society …”
Nkomo, who died on July 1, 1999 aged 82, was Mugabe’s deputy following the merger of PF Zapu and Zanu PF in 1987 to end the Gukurahundi massacres by the North Korea-trained 5 Brigade.
At the height of Gukurahundi, Nkomo had to flee the country fearing for his life, with Mugabe, then Prime Minister, accusing him of plotting to topple his government.
Last month, Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu in an opinion piece titled Zimbabwe@40: Joshua Nkomo and the Liberation Footpath (Part 2) published in the State media, also appeared to doubt Nkomo’s legacy when he said the major achievement of the Lancaster House Conference “was the outwitting of Nkomo” at the talks aimed at ending the liberation war.
According to Mpofu, Nkomo went into the talks against advice from Zipra commanders, among them the now late Lookout Masuku and Dumiso Dabengwa.
This is because, according to Mpofu, Nkomo’s was “largely driven by the misleading advice he received from the whites”, with the late Father Zimbabwe accused of disregarding counsel from the Zipra military element that had “wide resentments about participation in the Lancaster”