First commander of Mkushi Camp declared National Hero

The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
LIBERATION stalwart Cde Highten Nkomo, who was the first commander of the Mkushi Women’s Camp in Zambia, has been declared a National Hero.
He was 70.

Cde Nkomo, who was also known as Billy Mzamo, died at his homestead in the Bengu area of Gwanda District in Matabeleland South Province two weeks ago.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Valerio Sibanda, Zanu-PF Vice President Cde Kembo Mohadi are some of the freedom fighters who passed through his hands.

President Mnangagwa said Cde Nkomo’s contributions to the liberation of the country make him a giant in the history of the country who deserves National Hero status.

“In recognition of his contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe, loyalty to our nation and unwavering membership to the revolutionary Party, Zanu-PF, I have granted Cde Highten Nkomo National Hero status,” said President Mnangagwa.

“On behalf of Government, Zanu-PF party, my family and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to express my sincere condolences to the Nkomo family following the loss of their loved one.

“May they take comfort from the knowledge that their loss is shared by the whole nation in whose service he sacrificed and contributed immensely. May his dear soul rest in eternal peace.”

He described Cde Nkomo as a pioneer liberation fighter who experienced the brunt of the repressive colonial regime which forcibly deported his family to Zambia.

“Born to Zimbabwean parents who relocated to Zambia after being forced off their land in Tsholotsho by the settler regime, Cde Nkomo would never set foot in the then Rhodesia except as a freedom fighter,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said Cde Nkomo dropped out of school to join the liberation struggle when he was in Form 2 in the late 1960s.

The late Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo

He said Cde Nkomo was one of the early Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZPRA) cadres that included the likes of the late Major General (Rtd) Jevan Maseko, Brigadier General (Rtd) Abel Mazinyane, the late Colonel (Rtd) Masala Sibanda, and others, who trained at Morogoro in Tanzania in the period 1969 to 1970.

“He later trained as a Military Engineer in the now defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and thereafter commanded various liberation camps, including Chakwenga Transit Camp, through which Zanu PF Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Commander Defence Forces, General Valerio Sibanda, and many others, passed as recruits,” he said.

“In 1976, he was sent to Mgagao as a Zimbabwe People’s Army (ZIPA) Instructor where ZPRA and Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) cadres jointly trained and worked with the likes of national heroes, Chief Air Marshal (Rtd) Perrance Shiri, Lieutenant General (Rtd) Amoth Chingombe and Cde Gagisa Nleya.”

President Mnangagwa said due to his astute leadership Cde Nkomo was appointed to command the first women camp at Mkushi Women Training Camp after which he upheld his illustrious career and contribution to the Struggle as ZPRA Deputy Chief of Training.

President Mnangagwa

Rtd Brig Mazinyane said the National Hero status that has been accorded to Cde Nkomo was befitting considering his contribution to the liberation struggle.

“He has been granted what he rightfully deserves. The man was in the liberation struggle for 11 years before independence and that is a lot of sacrifice. His contributions were immense, he played several roles during the liberation struggle which he executed to the best of his abilities.

He provided unconditional service to the struggle to liberate the country,” said Rtd Brig Mazinyane.
He said it was not an easy job to lead the first camp of female recruits but Cde Nkomo diligently executed this duty which included political orientation of pupils who had joined the liberation struggle.

“He is the one who received some of the recruits including pupils from Manama High School who had just joined the liberation struggle. He had a big role including to politically orient them in what Zipra and Zapu wanted to achieve in fighting for the liberation of the country,” he said.

Family spokesperson Mr Abel Nkomo said the family was humbled by the recognition that has been granted to his brother.
“As a family we are grateful for the national hero status declaration that has been made by the President for our brother, uncle and grandfather.

I think this shows that the Government recognises the contributions that he made towards the liberation struggle of Zimbabwe.

It’s a great honour for us that he has been given this national hero status,” said Mr Nkomo.
He said they expect to meet Government officials today to discuss burial arrangements.

Mr Nkomo said Cde Nkomo is survived by his wife, three children and a grandson.
Mr Nkomo said mourners are gathered at Cde Nkomo’s homestead in Bengu. — @nqotshili

Article Source: The Chronicle

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