ZAPU president Sibangilizwe Nkomo wants the remains of his father, the late liberation war hero and former Vice President Joshua Nkomo, to be exhumed from the National Heroes Acre in Harare and reburied in Kezi.

Nkomo said it was his father’s wish to be buried at his rural home in Kezi, Matebeleland South Province.

Speaking at Dumiso Dabengwa’s third-anniversary commemorations in Bulawayo on Monday, Nkomo said:

I am one of those people that was tasked by my father to resist his burial at the national heroes acre.

He made it very clear that he did not want to be buried at any heroes acre.

He said he wanted to lie beside his parents. This is a task that I was given and it lives with me day in and day out.

I was not able, in 1999, to fulfil his wishes because I was in the minority against the decision to bury him in Harare.

However, as an individual, I feel I still have the task, to fulfil my father’s request.

Nkomo, affectionately called “Father Zimbabwe” or “Umdala Wethu”, died on 1 July 1999 after a long battle with prostate cancer and was buried at the National Heroes Acre.

The ZAPU leader claimed that ordinary citizens are also demanding that Nkomo’s remains be exhumed from the National Heroes Acre. He said:

It is important for the nation to know that wherever we are going these days on our meet the people outreach programmes, people are asking one question: What are we doing about Joshua Nkomo’s grave in Harare?

It is not up to me to say I am going to exhume him. Yes, I can apply to the ministry of home affairs, but it’s up to the people to emphasise that they want him removed from that place. I cannot do it alone.

It is the people who make sure that they don’t want Joshua Nkomo resting with liars and thieves.

The late former President Robert Mugabe reportedly forced the Nkomo family to have Father Zimbabwe buried at the National Heroes Acre against their wish.

Ironically, Mugabe was not buried at the monumental graveyard after he reportedly instructed his family to bury his remains in a tamper-proof grave at his rural home in Kutama.