Sunday, 20 June 2021

KAUNDA SUPPORTED ZAPU, SAYS NKOMO'S SON

SIBANGILIZWE, the son of the late former Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, yesterday paid tribute to the late Zambian founding President Kenneth Kaunda, describing his relationship with his father as brotherly.

Kaunda died last Thursday aged 97. Kaunda ruled Zambia from 1964 to 1991 and his government assisted Zimbabwe during the liberation war, by housing its liberation movements and offering moral support.

“I knew Kaunda from a young age. There was a song which was sung during the liberation war which spoke about Zimbabwe and Africa’s liberation. Among the top African leaders mentioned in the song were Kaunda, my father and the late former President of Malawi, Kamuzu Banda,” Nkomo said.

“When my father was arrested and spent 10 years at Gonakudzingwa Prison, Kaunda took care of Zipra and Zapu in Zambia. Their relationship was not only political, but it was that of brothers.”

He said when Lancaster House talks started, Kaunda provided Nkomo with a secretariat and a plane for his personal use.

“Kaunda became my close relative and parent. He worked hard for Zimbabwe to be liberated. His people were killed and suffered various challenges while he was supporting us.  He never gave up on supporting us. On several occasions, he assisted my father during negotiations with the late former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith. He loved to see a peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe. He was always full of joy and humility,” he said.

Nkomo said when his father died, Kaunda visited their family home in Pelandaba in Bulawayo to pay his respects.

“When he visited our home in Pelandaba I showed him the chair which my father loved to sit on and Kaunda sat on it and cried. He asked my father’s spirit to take care of the citizens of Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, he failed to attend his burial after he lost one of his sons who had been shot in Zambia.

“We are pained by his death,  but we must learn from his humility. He must rest in peace, but his spirit must live with us always,” Nkomo said. Newsday

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