By Bulawayo Correspondent
THE late Mafela Trust director and former ZIPRA veteran Zephaniah Nkomo, who died last Sunday aged 70, was buried at the Nkulumane provincial heroes’ acre in Bulawayo Thursday.
Nkomo was declared a provincial hero amid strong reservations from Zapu and other ZIPRA cadres who felt he deserved to be accorded national hero status due to his immense contribution during the liberation struggle.
Speaking at his burial, Tshinga Dube, a former ZIPRA commander, chairperson of the Mafela Trust, and Zanu PF Politburo member, acknowledged the critical role Nkomo played documenting Zapu and ZIPRA’s liberation struggle history through his work as the director of Mafela Trust.
Dube said he worked very closely with the late Nkomo at the Trust.
“His work was so immense because the records are there. At times he was doing voluntary work which many people will not accept,” Dube, a former war veterans minister, said.
Speaking at a funeral service at the late liberation stalwart’s Lobenvale suburb’s home, Nkomo’s son, Ashford, described his father as a gallant and principled man who sacrificed his life for the benefit of other people.
“My father was a very principled man and was one person who would always lecture you about honesty and love. He was a fair person. He had many friends and was loved by man,” said Ashford.
At his burial, Nkomo was given full military honours.
The late Nkomo was born in Ntoli in the then Bulilima-Mangwe district in Matabeleland South province on May 1, 1951.
He joined the liberation struggle in 1977.
During the Gukurahundi period in the early 1980s, Nkomo was arrested after being falsely accused of attempting to assassinate the then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.
He served four years of detention in prison without trial and during that time in incarceration, Nkomo was severely tortured. The government did not issue any apology upon his release for unlawful arrest and torture he received while in prison.