A big man, a bigger heart

Ambassador Simon  Khaya Moyo
The history of the late Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo constitutes a textbook of Zimbabwe’s nationalism. It is, therefore, not possible to narrate the heroic deeds of this iconic giant in a mere article, unless one worships injustice.

I was fortunate to be his Special Assistant in exile during the explosive days of the liberation struggle, and continued to work closely with him post-Independence until his last breath on July 1, 1999.

I equally saw wisdom and foresight in action when President Robert Mugabe and Dr Joshua Nkomo were co-leaders of the Patriotic Front during the hectic negotiations with the British in Geneva, Malta and at Lancaster House, leading to our Independence in 1980.

One could not help but marvel at their leadership style and vision.
The history of Zimbabwe’s two former liberation movements, Zanu and Zapu, and their respective liberation armies, Zanla and Zipra, has been well-narrated and recorded on several occasions.

Suffice it to say that our two icons, President Mugabe and the late Dr Nkomo, led the liberation struggle with precision until final victory. We owe them everlasting gratitude. Turning to the subject of this article, it is important to note that Dr Nkomo was, indeed, a leader of immense humility, charisma; a visionary, a colossus, a foundation of wisdom, a beacon for development and a father figure to this nation.

Indeed, a man of the people, across the length and breadth of this great land. He knew no tribe, no region and no race. He scorned factionalism and corruption. He was not selfish or greedy, and wished every Zimbabwean good life and prosperity.

The projects he initiated under the Development Trust of Zimbabwe across the country are a lasting legacy of his heroism and testimony that he always led from the front. He was, indeed, a champion of unity, peace, development, justice and human dignity. He had nothing in common with gossips, rumour-mongers and liars.

This nation is poorer with his absence. He was never power-hungry. To him, the struggle was about freedom and Independence – not power. After the signing of the Unity Accord by the two iconic leaders of the former liberation movements of Zanu and PF Zapu, President Mugabe and Dr Nkomo, respectively, into Zanu-PF on December 22, 1987, there was great jubilation across the country.

Dr Nkomo, thereafter, summoned the leadership of former PF-Zapu and advised us that now that the two parties had united into Zanu-PF, there was now one President of the Party i.e. Cde Robert G Mugabe.
He stressed that he did not want to hear of factionalism, which never existed in the former PF-Zapu.

He further emphasised that even if he were to depart this world, we had the responsibility to respect his signature sealing the Unity Accord and to unequivocally rally behind President R G Mugabe.
We took his message with seriousness of purpose.

To our surprise, since the demise of Dr Nkomo on July 1, 1999, many former PF-Zapu leaders began to be allocated factions without consultation and whose meetings you were/are never invited to attend.
This is political criminality of the highest order. Down with factionalism and its perpetrators!

Dr Nkomo’s immense physical stature resonated well with his large heart and enviable disposition. He was benevolent and loved Zimbabwe and all its people.

I have always said a man like Dr Nkomo can never die. He only departed for higher responsibility.
His deeds live forever. The Bible teaches us that, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”
He is with God. Amen.

  • Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo is Zanu-PF’s National Spokesperson and Minister of Policy Co-ordination and Promotion of Socio-Economic Ventures in the President’s Office

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