Joshua Nkomo was the Founding Father of Zimbabwe.

THE son of the revered late Father Zimbabwe, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo is pressing on with his push to have his father’s remains exhumed from the National Heroes Acre in Harare despite fierce resistance from Zanu PF.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Sibangilizwe — who is now the leader of Zapu — said his family was currently consulting key stakeholders on the matter so that the exhumation process could begin.

This comes after Sibangilizwe first made public his intention to do this in May this year, claiming at the time that it had always been his father’s wish to be buried next to his parents in Kezi.

“It (the exhumation process) is work in progress. There are a lot of discussions going on at the moment that are centred on the exhumation process.

“We are discussing this within the family, the community and with other stakeholders. The late former vice president Joshua Nkomo belonged to everyone.

“It is not really a matter for us as a family only. We have to consult wisely. The general consensus is that he should be removed from the Heroes’ Acre for various reasons,” Sibangilizwe said.

“His wish was that he wanted to be buried next to his parents in Kezi, which is in St Joseph,” he also said.

Sibangilizwe added that the push to exhume his father’s remains from the national shrine also came out of a realisation that some of the people who were buried there did not deserve national hero status.

“The very person who worked with him concerning the architecture of the heroes acre, the late former president Robert Mugabe refused to be buried there.

“I personally feel that he does not deserve to be buried there because there is a lot of concerns and mischief around there.

“There are people who do not qualify to be buried there. Some of them are murderers, thieves and other culprits, hence my father does not deserve to be there.

“So, I will consult the government at a later stage, but at the current moment we are consulting stakeholders at the grassroots level,” Sibangilizwe said.

However, Zanu PF director of information, Tafadzwa Mugwadi, rubbished Sibangilizwe’s call yesterday, describing it as “attention-seeking theatrics”.

“These are attention-seeking theatrics by heartless souls. I would advise them to find relevance through following the late former vice president Joshua Nkomo’s teachings, ideas and principles of unity, oneness, forgiveness and development.

“The late VP and Mama Mafuyana are resting in peace at the national shrine and I am sure they frown upon such heartless theatrics driven by tribalism rather than love,” Mugwadi added.

Speaking in May, during a memorial lecture for former Zapu leader and Cabinet minister, Dumiso Dabengwa, the outspoken Sibangilizwe said Nkomo’s family wanted his remains buried at their rural home in Kezi, in Matabeleland South.

Addressing journalists after the lecture, Sibangilizwe further claimed that his father had personally directed him to bury him in Kezi.

“It’s painful to always know that your parents are buried where they didn’t want to be. People keep asking me, but at the moment I don’t have an answer.

“What I can say is that when he (Nkomo) died, I lost the battle to have him buried in Kezi. But I want to assure you that I haven’t stopped the fight to have his remains come back home.

“All I need is your support as the people of Zimbabwe. You all know that Nkomo didn’t want to be buried there,” Sibangilizwe said.

“It is also our wish that each year as the Nkomo family we meet at our rural home in Kezi on July 1 to remember our father.

“He cannot be buried alongside thieves, liars and thugs in Harare there. He was too good to be at that place,” Sibangilizwe charged further.

Speaking later to journalists, he also insisted that his father had personally given him the directive to have him buried in Kezi.

“I am one of those people who was tasked by my father that I should ensure that his body was not to be taken to the National Heroes Acre.

“He made it very clear that he did not want to go there. He said he wanted to lie besides his parents.

“That’s the task that lives with me day in, day out. Unfortunately, when he died I was not able to fulfil his wishes because I was in the minority of people who wanted to honour that quest.

“However, I feel I still have that task to fulfil my father’s quest,” Sibangilizwe added.

He also said that he was even more determined to have the remains of Nkomo exhumed after Mugabe’s family snubbed the national shrine and buried him at his rural home in Kutama Village, in Zvimba.

“Personally, I feel after Mugabe’s failure to go and rest there, that this says a lot. I think it’s about time that Cde Joshua Nkomo goes to his parents, without failure,” Sibangilizwe said.

Nkomo succumbed to cancer on July 1, 1999 and was buried four days later at the National Heroes Acre.

His wife, Mafuyana — who died on June 3, 2003 — is also buried at the national shrine in Harare. – Daily News