BULAWAYO and the Matabeleland region take pride in the mounting of the late Vice President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo’s statue in the city, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Bulawayo Eunice Nomthandazo Moyo said yesterday. President Mugabe will officially unveil the statue of the late nationalist this weekend.
The unveiling will coincide with Unity Day on December 22. That date marks sigining of the Unity Accord in 1987 signed by President Mugabe and Dr Nkomo which got ZANU and ZAPU together for the good of all Zimbabweans.
Apart from the statue unveiling, Bulawayo’s Main Street will be renamed Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street, and the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport will also be officially opened.
Minister Moyo said people from the region, Bulawayo in particular, were excited by the project, which they have patiently awaited for a long time.
“Bulawayo is excited about this development. This coming Sunday is a day for us to cherish and celebrate this great man. We are happy this day was chosen to coincide with Unity Day,” said Cde Moyo.
“It is proper that we celebrate him in Bulawayo for our people to see the strength of unity. It is a day that gives us hope to look forward and work together,” she said.
The minister added: “Preparations are on course for the day and everything is being finalised. The President will be here. We will meet the Nkomo family and thank them for bearing a son who has made us great in Matabeleland, one who did a lot for Zimbabwe.”
She said Dr Nkomo was a towering figure among nationalists who brought independence, peace and prosperity to Zimbabwe.
Sunday’s programme, she said, would start at the airport and end in the city centre where President Mugabe would unveil the statue and officially rename Main Street after Umdala Wethu.
Minister Moyo said it had always been President Mugabe’s wish to honour the late Dr Nkomo and urged Zimbabweans to emulate their leaders by cherishing unity and working as one to protect the gains of the liberation struggle.
“As a Zapu cadre and someone who worked as Nkomo’s administrator I personally feel honoured to be in this city and have an opportunity to superintend over such a great work,” she said.
Minister Moyo paid tribute to President Mugabe and the Government ministries that undertook the task of mounting the statue, as well as Bulawayo residents for their patience.
“People have waited to see this being finalised after the statue was initially pulled down. It shows their confidence in their Government. This is a beautiful arrangement for Bulawayo to celebrate Nkomo’s works,” she said.
Yesterday, a delegation from Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Ministry, civic society and the Nkomo family visited the statue site.
Chief architect of the project Mr Enock Mpofu explained to them how the pedestal was constructed using materials that creatively blend with the surroundings.
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi was in Bulawayo Monday to inspect the statue and expressed satisfaction with the work done. Dr Nkomo’s statue was first erected in 2010 but was pulled down before its official unveiling after Bulawayo residents and the Nkomo family complained that the dimensions of the initial pedestal did not fully capture the attributes of the late Vice President. Dr Nkomo died on July 1, 1999, and was accorded national hero status. The erection of his statue is in memory of his illustrious work and contributions to the liberation of the country and its development after independence.