Zimbabwe’s John Nkomo dies

2013-01-17 15:29

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Zimbabwe’s second vice-president, John Landa Nkomo, has died at the age of 79.

Nkomo, who was the subject of frequent death rumours in 2012, succumbed to cancer at St Anne’s Hospital in Harare.

The Zanu-PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa confirmed his death to City Press today.

“It’s a sad day for Zimbabwe. We have lost him and the whole of Zimbabwe is moved,” he said.

News of his death went viral on social media platforms, similar to how the incorrect reports of his death had spread five times before. But when the United States embassy in Harare issued a message of condolence, indications were that the reports were true.

“The Embassy of the United States of America expresses its condolences to the family and the people of Zimbabwe on the death of Vice President John Landa Nkomo. Whether as a teacher, a politician, an advocate for Zimbabwe’s independence, or as a public servant, Vice President Nkomo was a patriot who dedicated his life to Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and prosperity.

“As a leader of PF Zapu and Zanu-PF, Mr Nkomo played an important role in shaping the course of Zimbabwean history. May he rest in peace,” the embassy statement read.

By the time of publication, the Zimbabwe government was yet to issue an official statement.

» Nkomo’s career

Member of the ANC, 1958-59

Joined the National Democratic Party, 1960

Joined the Zimbabwe African People’s Union, 1961

Arrested and detained at Gonakudzingwa for two years, 1966-68

Joined the African National Council becoming deputy secretary-general, 1971

Attended the Geneva Conference as part of Joshua Nkomo’s delegation, 1976

Seriously injured in parcel bomb attack that killed Jason Ziyapapa Moyo, 1977;

Member of parliament, Matabeleland North, 1980-1985

Deputy minister of industry and energy, 1981

Minister of state in the prime minister’s office responsible to the deputy prime minister, 1982-84

Fired from government as one of only two remaining Zapu members, 1984

Member of parliament for Tsholotsho, 1985-1990

Minister of labour, manpower planning and social welfare, 1988-1995

Member of parliament for Bulawayo North, 1990-1995

Re-elected member of parliament for Bulawayo North, 1995-2000

Minister of local government and rural development, 1995

Minister of local government and national housing, 1997

Minister of home affairs, 2000

Minister of state in the president’s office responsible for special affairs, 2002

Speaker of parliament, 2005-2008

Minister of state in the president’s office responsible for national healing, reconciliation and integration, 2009

Vice-president, 2009 to date

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