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Zim crisis a betrayal of what Joshua Nkomo stood for: Thandi


Mthokozisi Dube

Zimbabwe’s most decorated national hero, the late Joshua Nkomo would have been shattered by the present state of the country, says his daughter Thandiwe Nkomo-Ebrahim.

Ahead of the fifth Joshua Nkomo Memorial Lecture, which coincides with the country’s 40th Independence celebrations on Saturday, the revered nationalist’s daughter believes her father would have been devastated by the dire situation Zimbabweans find themselves in.

The country, once the breadbasket of Africa, continues to plunge into a deepening crisis with each year with no turnaround in sight.

Nkomo-Ebrahim says the memorial lecture is aimed at encouraging citizens to interact with technocrats, politicians, and other interested parties to share evidence-based solutions on political, economic, and social problems affecting the development of the country as it turns 40.

“Umdala saw where this was going before he died and it is our hope that these lectures will inspire young people and the older generation alike to arise and sacrifice for the rebuilding of their nation,” Nkomo-Ebrahim said.

The annual lecture commemorates the late influential and revolutionary leader, who led the first political movement against the white minority government of Rhodesia.

The lecture entitled, “Celebrating 40 years of Independence – Back to the future” coincides with the country’s ruby anniversary. 

Revered human rights lawyer Siphosami Malunga, son to the late PF ZAPU stalwart, Sydney Malunga, is set to deliver the lecture, which will be broadcast on online platforms including Twitter and Facebook at 10AM.

“His father was very close to Umdala, they shared the same vision, the same values and were all cut from the same cloth – calling a spade a spade.

“They would always be consulting; the families were very close.

“We are really happy because when these lectures are delivered in an academic sense by people who did not know the old man personally, they take a different turn…

“But, it’s a joy to have Sipho, who knew him as a father and an uncle, to deliver the lecture,” she said.

JNM said the reason behind the online broadcast is the ongoing lockdowns meant to limit the spread of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic. Zimbabwe and South Africa, the two countries that have previously hosted the series, are both on lockdown as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.

She added this year’s edition of the lecture series was aimed at reflecting on her father’s efforts to promote sustainable development and improve the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.

The lecture series is an academic and intellectual platform for exchanging ideas on entrepreneurship, economic, technological, political, and social development, principles that Dr Nkomo stood for. 

According to Nkomo-Ebrahim, the series is premised on objectives including stimulating research on development themes such as entrepreneurship, economic development, democracy and human rights.

She said her father was a development-oriented man, who, among other things, fought for the economic emancipation of Zimbabweans.

“His initial focus was on land development and agronomics but later expanded into mining, construction, agro-processing, real estate, wood processing and health care. He also believed in promoting entrepreneurship and it’s because of him that big companies like Econet Wireless are operational today,” she said. 

Previous speakers have been Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, Dr Sipho Moyo, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga and Dr Sabelo Gatsheni-Ndlovu. 

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