Zimbabwe Vice President John Nkomo Dies
HARARE - Zimbabwe's Vice President John Landa Nkomo has died. Busani, MLF media committee member, a close family friend confirmed the untimely death of the vice president.
Nkomo had been admitted to an exclusive South African hospital with a "life threatening" cancer-related illness. It is said he succumbed to the cancer related illness and passed on after 4pm in South Africa.
Vice-President John Nkomo was on Sunday rushed to South Africa for medical treatment after his health deteriorated, a day after appearing in public at the burial of Retired General Solomon Mujuru at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare.
At the national shrine, Nkomo appeared tired, moved slowly and was assisted by two aides as he made his way to the VIP tent clutching a cane. He struggled to get to Mujuru’s grave despite walking with the aid of the cane and it took him much effort to lay a wreath.
His condition reportedly deteriorated soon after and he was rushed to South Africa. His state could not be immediately established as of yesterday.
President Robert Mugabe was last week forced to appoint a grieving Joice Mujuru as Acting President when he went to Angola for the Sadc summit.
Senior Zanu-PF officials also confirmed Nkomo's deteriorating health.
"The VP has not been feeling well for quite some time and that is not news. I am not aware if he has gone to South Africa or not. What I know is that he is not feeling well," said Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo.
Zanu-PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said: "He has not been feeling well for some time and he was not coming to work. Even today (yesterday), he was not in the Cabinet meeting. But, I do not know why and where he is now, whether he went to South Africa or not."
Gumbo also confirmed Murerwa was seriously ill and admitted at a private hospital in South Africa. "The last I heard was that he was ill," Gumbo said. "He had an operation."
At the time of his death, John Landa Nkomo (born August 22, 1934) was serving as Vice-President of Zimbabwe. After serving for years as a minister in the government of Zimbabwe, he was the Speaker of Parliament from 2005 to 2008. He was then appointed to the Senate in 2008 and was Minister of State in the President's Office in 2009. Nkomo is also a key figure in the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF); he was National Chairman of ZANU-PF until December 2009, when he was elected as Vice-President of ZANU-PF. As a consequence of his elevation to the party's vice-presidency, he also became Vice-President of Zimbabwe in December 2009.
Nkomo was a member of Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) before the party merged with Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) to create ZANU-PF in 1987. He was Minister of Labour, Manpower Planning, and Social Welfare as of May 1990.
Nkomo, who had previously served as Minister of Home Affairs, was moved to the position of Minister of Special Affairs in the President's Office in a cabinet reshuffle on August 25, 2002. This was seen as a demotion and was attributed to a power play in ZANU-PF. Following the March 2005 parliamentary election, he became Speaker of Parliament in April 2005.
In November 2006, while serving his term as the Speaker of Parliament, John Nkomo shocked many people declaring his intention to seek the candidature for ZANU-PF for the next presidential election. Nkomo did not seek the nomination, however, as President Robert Mugabe chose to run for re-election.
Nkomo did not stand as a candidate in the 2008 parliamentary election, but following the election he was appointed to the Senate by Mugabe on August 25, 2008. Later, when the national unity government was appointed in February 2009, he became Minister of State in the President's Office.
Nkomo is widely viewed as a moderate within the ZANU-PF leadership. He was elected as Vice-President of ZANU-PF by a party congress on December 12, 2009, succeeding Joseph Msika, who had died a few months beforehand. He was then sworn in as Vice-President of Zimbabwe by President Mugabe on December 14. Along with Joyce Mujuru (who represents the party's ZANU wing), Nkomo is one of two vice-presidents. In an interview at the time of his swearing-in, Nkomo expressed his commitment to the success of the national unity government and said that he would work to facilitate the achievement of its goals.