Late Vice President Nkomo’s Statue Sparks Fresh Debate

The debate comes amid plans to replace a similar statue in Bulawayo which had to be pulled down last year after the family objected on the grounds that they had not been consulted and that the statue did not befit the status that their father had.

The family, however, was unable to do anything about the statue of the late vice president who died in 1999 which was erected Karigamombe centre in Harare’s central business district.

National chairperson of ZIPRA Veterans, Rtd Col Ray Ncube, told Radio VOP in an exclusive interview that since 1984 the name Karigamombe was coined in line with Gukurahundi atrocities, meaning that the ZAPU leader has been defeated.

Zapu and Zanu (PF) had joined together through the unity accord agreed to in 1997.

“The name Karigamombe is in very bad taste in Matabeleland because it implies that the bull has been defeated. We would then prefer that the statue is erected to a very convenient place which does not have that connotation or something that belittles the late ZAPU leader.”

“We would prefer that they continue to look for a better place as we believe that there are many places that could accommodate that statue in Harare,” said Rtd Col Ncube.

He said that there are several cites on Samora Machel Road that can accommodate Nkomo’s statue, adding that the statue could be erected at the entry point of Samora Machael Road that leads to Bulawayo Road.
Meanwhile the government of Zimbabwe resumed work on the controversial statue of the late vice president in Bulawayo.

Thandi Nkomo-Ibrahim, the daughter of the Vice President, told Radio VOP in an exclusive telephone interview that her family, Joshua Nkomo Foundation and government of Zimbabwe were working on the statue that is likely to be complete by the end of this month as they had failed to meet the deadline of Heroes Day which will be commemorated next week.

The statue was pulled down last year in September after the family objected that it did not capture the exact attributes of the late vice president and that they were not consulted or involved in the project. However the family was unable to stop the erection of a similar statue at Harare’s Karigamombe centre, which the family also say they had no input into.

“This time around we have been consulted on the re-erection of the statue in Bulawayo and the constructors are going to work on the agreed size of the pedestal,” she told Radio VOP.

She said that after wide consultations with the family, the government of Zimbabwe agreed to mount the statue on a high pedestal that befits the street statue of his father.

“As you know that there are different types of statues and for our father, the pedestal that is going to be re-erected will befit the size of the statue and street. “After adjusting the pedestal to befit Dr Nkomo’s statue the constructors are going to retain the statue that was brought down,” added Nkomo-Ibrahim.

The statue is currently kept at National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.

Vice President Nkomo died on July 01 1999 in Harare at the age of 82 and was laid to rest at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.

However, the controversy on the erection of the statue at Karigamombe Centre in Harare will continue to haunt the family. Nkomo Ibrahim said they had no say in the erection of the statue in Harare.

“We as a family…had no say because the Nkomo issue has been turned into a national issue and it is the reason why the Foundation ended up bowing to that decision…” she said.