The ZIPRA War Veterans Association wants the government to declare 1 July a public holiday to honour the late former Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo for his contribution to the liberation and development of the country.
“Father Zimbabwe” or “Umdla Wethu”, as Nkomo was affectionately known, died on 1 July 1999.
ZIPRA war veterans believe Nkomo should be remembered for his sacrifices for the country’s liberation from colonialists.
Speaking to Southern Eye on Thursday, ZIPRA War Veterans Association secretary-general Petros Sibanda said:
We realise that his works were great such that July 1 must be declared a Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Day or Father Zimbabwe Day.
We also urge all combatants and political parties to attend the event.
Sibanda said they have planned events for this Friday in commemoration of the late Vice president. He said:
We have realised in the 23 years after his passing on nothing is being done by the authorities to remember Nkomo.
Nkomo was our ZIPRA commander in chief and as veterans, we feel that we need to begin this programme to commemorate his death and educate our children and generations to come about the role he played for us to be independent, as well as the role he played towards the independence of other African countries.
We have planned that on July 2 (tomorrow) we will meet at Masotsha avenue and march through Joshua Nkomo street to his statue where revolutionary speeches will be made.
There is only one Nkomo statue in Bulawayo, but his statues must be installed in all towns because Nkomo was a national leader.
In Mashonaland, they referred to him as Chibwechitedza. In Matabeleland South, they called him Hamatsatsi, and in other areas, he was called Umdala Wethu.
The late South African leader Nelson Mandela and the late Zambian leader Kenneth Kaunda looked up to Nkomo as an elder.
Nkomo was the leader of ZAPU and its military wing ZIPRA during the liberation struggle.
He was made Vice President in 1987 after ZANU and ZAPU signed the Unity Accord to unite and end the mid-80s Gukurahundi killings.