Unity Day marks the historic signing of the unity accord on December 22 1987, by Nkomo of PF Zapu and President Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF. In an interview with The Standard on Friday, co-Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi admitted that they would not meet the December 22 deadline.
“We will not be able to meet the December 22 deadline as we had anticipated,” said Mohadi. He however, also revealed that work on the statue would soon be underway.
“I can assure you that work on the statue will soon be resumed as we are expecting some materials to arrive in the country soon to finish up the job,” said Mohadi.
“We have also managed to get more resources for the project. Therefore, we are certain that work will soon resume on the statue.” Work at the site halted more than a month after the completion of the pedestal where the statue would be placed.
Initially, the deadline for the completion of the statue —which is located at the intersection of main street and 8th avenue — was before the Heroes Day holidays in August.
Last month, a Harare-based contractor abandoned the construction of the statue after government reportedly ran out of funds for the project. The contractors allegedly vacated the construction site after the government failed to pay for the services.
Two weeks ago, the government tried to speed up work on the construction of the statue to enable Mugabe to unveil it during the just-ended Zanu PF conference, with no success.
The statue, which was facing north, was pulled down in September last year a few weeks after it was erected after the family objected on the grounds that it did not depict the exact attributes of the late nationalist.
The family also complained that the government had not involved them in the whole project. The statue itself, the family said, was very small, pitiful and hardly a street statue at all. They said the statue was neither the landmark nor the monument that it should be. Nkomo, who was affectionately known as Father Zimbabwe, passed away in 1999.