Some Zimbabweans believe that ZAPU leader Sibangilizwe Nkomo has every right to demand the exhumation of his father, the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, from the National Heroes Acre for reburial in rural Kezi.
Nkomo died on 1 July 1999 and was buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare amid indications that he wanted to be buried in Kezi, a village in Matobo District, Matabeleland South Province.
Speaking at a memorial service of the late ZAPU leader, Dumiso Dabengwa in Ntabazinduna on Monday, Sibangilizwe said he wants the remains of his father to be removed from the National Heroes Acre and the call has received support from ZAPU and some citizens.
Discussing the issue on CITE’s Twitter Space, This Morning on Asakhe, the participants said the Nkomo family has the right to decide where his remains should rest. Said a participant:
Sibangilizwe Nkomo has every right to have this conversation even with his family because if Joshua Nkomo’s family had refused for him to be buried there, there would have been the first family to do that and we have always heard how the State has always intimidated families after the death of National heroes.
The Nkomo family has every right to exhume his body and go and bury him where they want or where he requested to be buried because remember Joshua Nkomo was treated as a traitor by ZANU-PF after Independence because he wanted reconciliation, got into the Unity Accord for the good of the country.
You hear people saying Sibangilizwe is using that for his political Capital but at the end of the day it’s his father, it’s the Nkomo family that has to decide where to bury their father.
Another participant said the Nkomo family was arm-twisted into burying the late nationalist at the National Heroes Acre, thereby betraying what he stood for.
Professor Shepherd Mpofu said the Nkomo family should have challenged the move by the Government to bury Nkomo at the monumental graveyard. He said:
What Sibangilizwe brings across is the problems associated with the failures of creating Zimbabwe as a people.
We knew that he didn’t want to be buried at National Heroes Acre but because of national cohesion, the need to create this United Zimbabwe, and the euphoria that actually comes after his death where every Zimbabwean is sort of seeming United, it was befitting for him to buried at the National Shrine.
I think the Nkomo family should have challenged that act then but again Mugabe wanted to preside over Nkomo’s dead body and weaponize it for his political agenda which he has successfully done for a long time at that shrine.
Ironically, the late former President Robert Mugabe was not buried at the National Heroes Acre after he reportedly instructed his family to bury his remains in a tamper-proof grave at his rural home in Kutama.
However, another participant said there is a need for the family to reveal the reasons why they want to exhume him 23 years later.