By Iphithule Maphosa ZAPU National Spokesperson
The last two months have been very important for the mother party and Zimbabweans as we have been engrossed with memories of giants who played prominent roles in our quest for a dignified and free life.
Linked in life, linked in the struggle and close to each other in their dates of death, in May we commemorated President Dabengwa’s second Anniversary. Before the month was out, we lost one of the greatest supporters of ZAPU, President Kaunda of Zambia. Just this passing week, we were commemorating the passing of ZPRA Commander Gen Alfred Nikita Mangena. Today we remember the Big Josh, uMafukufuku ka Nyangolo, our former President Joshua Nkomo.
President Nkomo, who passed on this day in 1999, was a rare breed of leadership in all Africa and the world. He spent most of his time during struggle years making efforts at peace and finding peaceful ways of resolving the Rhodesian problem. This was despite the military might that he commanded in ZPRA.
After solving the colonial question in 1980, as he anticipated the beginning of a nations development agenda, antagonistic forces were soon up against him and everything he stood for. However, despite the available variety of choices to respond, President Nkomo again chose the narrow and lone path of peaceful resolution to conflict, displaying once again the rarest attributes of leadership in him.
Here was a man who passed the test and was a champion in development agenda of this country. He abhorred corruption, just as he abhorred violence. He had utmost disdain for inequality as is perpetuated today as policy by the ZANU PF government, where marginalisation is systematic and institutionalized by the Zimbabwean state.
President Nkomo, who always reiterated the centrality of land to the African economic development believed in an orderly, peaceful, productive and transparent land reform process that took into account the importance of Rights and their observance, protection and promotion.
With his continuous overtures at unity repeatedly rejected, President Nkomo did not deviate from his belief that every human being ought to be afforded a chance at a peaceful and harmonious existence. He believed peace was a by product of unity and tolerance. He further believed development of a nation is only possible under a peaceful environment. These are beliefs we should adopt and emulate the late giant in perpetual hunt for the two ingredients for a sustained development of our country.
Today we also remember and reflect back on the relationship between President Nkomo of ZAPU and President Kaunda of Zambia. The two men had one thing in common-both had open disdain for violence of any nature.
Even when violence was the last alternative, both men went out of their way to seek and find a peaceful option. As we celebrate the lives of these legends, as well as we appreciate the benefits the relationship between them to Zimbabwe, we are however saddened by the current state of affairs in Zimbabwe.
For all intents and purposes, President Nkomo would have never allowed the degeneration that we witness under the violent, intolerant and economically bankrupt military regime in Zimbabwe, where Rights are not observed, constitution is disregarded, state institutions are captured and corruption is the order of the day. All these with absolute impunity.
As we commemorate Dr Nkomo, let us all relive his values and we could, with little effort of our own, together live the African and Zimbabwean dream the way he imagined it.
May the spirit of Joshua Nkomo live forever in us and guide our ways and efforts at finding the elusive Zimbabwean dream!
Lala ngokuthula qhawe lamaqhawe.