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Nkomo, Joshua 1917–

Joshua Nkomo 1917

Zimbabwean politician

At a Glance

A Voice for Change

A Cry from the Wilderness

New Troubles for Nkomo

Sources

Joshua Nkomo has been hailed as the father of Zimbabwean nationalism for his role in assuring black majority rule in the African nation of Zimbabwe (formerly Southern Rhodesia). Known affectionately in his homeland as Father Zimbabwe or The Old Lion, Nkomo serves as one of two vice-presidents in what is essentially a one-party state. New Leader correspondent Kurt M. Campbell wrote of Nkomo: The man who founded the nationalist resistance to white rule and spent a decade in a Rhodesian prison... has now assumed the mantle of elder statesman in the government. Nkomos promotion to vice-president in 1988 brought a lasting partnership of the countrys two leading political parties, thus effectively ending a half decade of bloody civil war.

In 1988, when after years of rift he joined the government headed by Robert Mugabe, Nkomo told the New Leader: The unity between our [Zimbabwean] peoples is something we had to bring about. We could look around the region and see how South Africa has played on our weaknesses. Now we are together.... Zimbabwe is situated in a volatile, violent region, and we need to face the future united. The unity that Nkomo has sought as Zimbabwes vice-president is no longer challenged by deadly tribal warfare but rather by persistent calls for multi-party democracy in future national elections.

The history of the territory now known as Zimbabwe began on September 13, 1890, when the flag of Great Britain was raised at Fort Salisbury to mark English settlement. The British colonists called the area Southern Rhodesia, an honor paid to millionaire industrialist Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes had plans for the landlocked region, and he paid armed soldiers to subdue the native African tribes, especially the Shona and the Ndebele, who had united against the invaders. By 1901, white settlers were pouring into Southern Rhodesia, forcibly seizing the best farmland and overseeing the mining of gold, chrome ore, and platinum.

Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo was born in 1917 in the part of Zimbabwe that became known as Matabeleland. He was a member of the Ndebele tribe, a minority group next to the larger, more powerful Shona tribe. The imposition of white rule notwithstanding, Nkomos father was able to hold onto some prime grazing land. The family owned 1,000 head of cattle and was prosperous enough to seek formal education for the children. The young Nkomo

At a Glance

Born Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo in 1917 in the Matopo district, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe); son of a cattle farmer; married; one daughter. Education: Attended Jan Hofmeyer School of Social Work, Johannesburg, South Africa; received B.A. from University of South Africa.

Vice-president of Zimbabwe, 1980-81 and 1988. Social welfare worker with Rhodesian Railways, 1947-52; general-secretary of the Rhodesian Railways African Employees Association, 1952-53; president of African National Congress (of Southern Rhodesia), 1953-59; director of international and external affairs for National Democratic Party (of Southern Rhodesia), 1960-61. Founder and leader of Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU), 1961-88; ZAPU merged with Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), 1988.

Addresses: Office Office of the Vice-President, Private Bag, 7700 Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe; or c/o Zimbabwe Embassy, 2852 McGill Terrace N.W., Washington, DC 20008.

attended a Catholic mission school, where he completed the equivalent of an elementary school education.

As a teen, Nkomo moved to the regional capital, Bulawayo, where he made money for secondary school by working as a carpenter and truck driver. He was able to earn enough to move to South Africa, where he completed his secondary education at the Government School of Adams College. He then attended the Jan Hofmeyer School of Social Work in Johannesburg, returning to his homeland in 1947 to take a job as a social welfare worker with the Rhodesian Railways. He was the first black man to hold such an important job on the nations rail lines.

The country Nkomo called home was prosperous enoughthough mainly for white settlers only. By 1930, the colonists from Great Britain had taken control of the government and forcibly relocated black farmers and businessmen to give more economic opportunity to the whites. Native Africans were moved to the poorest and most inaccessible land and were forbidden to compete with whites in growing cash crops such as tobacco and cotton. Blacks were relegated to positions of servitude within commercial farming or industry, and very few of them were able to earn a college degree.

A Voice for Change

As one black man who did graduate from collegeearning a bachelors degree from the University of South AfricaNkomo was appalled by the state of affairs in his country. Although he had a good job with the Rhodesian Railways, the inequity visited upon his fellow Zimbabweans moved him to exert himself politically. He became general-secretary of the Rhodesian Railways African Employees Association and built that group into a powerful organization with 22 branches and more than 2500 members. His activities with the organization met with white approval because he seemed willing to cooperate with the ruling regime. In fact, he was perceived as such a moderate that he was invited to London in 1952 to represent black opinion at a planning conference for three British colonies, including Southern Rhodesia.

That conference represented the turning point in Nkomos career. He rejected all proposals that left the government of Southern Rhodesia in white hands, and he returned home in protest. Within the year he was elected president of Southern Rhodesias African National Congress (ANC), a nationalist organization devoted to ending white minority rule. Nkomo served as president of the ANC from 1953 until the party was banned in 1959. His duties included travel abroad for speaking engagements on the partys behalf, and thus he was outside Southern Rhodesia when the white government cracked down on the ANC and jailed some of its leaders.

The 1960s brought heightened tensions to many African nations caught in the yoke of colonial rule. In Southern Rhodesia a series of white prime ministers adopted harsher and harsher tactics against black nationalists. In turn, the blacks learned guerilla warfare techniques from sympathizers in the Soviet Union and China. Although constantly under the threat of drought and poor farm yields, Southern Rhodesia continued to prosper economically, and that in turn drew more whites into the country.

In July of 1961 Southern Rhodesia adopted a new constitution that allowed a small number of blacks to enter Parliament. Nkomo supported the new constitution at first, but then changed his mind. Still perceived as a moderate, he watched his popularity erode while more militant Africans demanded black majority rule immediately. In response, he formed a political party, the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU), and appealed to the United Nations for economic sanctions against Southern Rhodesia. His passionate speech in New York City in 1962 brought results. Many nations agreed to the sanctions, but some including England and the United Statescontinued to offer covert support to Southern Rhodesia.

In the meantime, ZAPU was gaining popularityand making military in-roadsin Southern Rhodesia. During 1963 Nkomo was arrested and brought to court four times for leading demonstrations and making subversive statements. Even so, he was perceived as too moderate by a wing of ZAPU, and the more radical elements formed a new party, the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). The methods proposed by ZAPU and ZANU were slightly different, but the aim remained the same: to oust white minority rule in favor of a government run by black Africans.

A Cry from the Wilderness

In April of 1964 Ian Smith was named prime minister of Southern Rhodesia. A white conservative determined to make the country safe and even more prosperous for its white inhabitants, Smith began a ruthless crusade against the black nationalists. One of Smiths first acts was to banish Nkomo to a detention center in a remote region. Violent riots broke out all over the nation, but they were suppressed. All told, Smith kept Nkomo in a series of isolated camps for ten years. Just as in the case of South African activist Nelson Mandela, this incarceration without trial only served to heighten Nkomos popularity, and both ZAPU and ZANU attracted recruits for the struggle against the Smith administration.

The end of Portuguese rule in the African nations of Angola and Mozambique in 1974 gave impetus to the nationalist movement in Southern Rhodesia, and Smith was finally forced to free Nkomo. As leader of ZAPU, Nkomo moved to Zambia, using that African country as a staging area for guerilla attacks on whites in Southern Rhodesia. Smith called for peace talks, but the violence continued because Nkomo refused to halt the warfare while the white government negotiated a new constitution. Smith found himself besieged by the forces of ZAPUdrawn mostly from the Ndebele peoplesand ZANUa larger group of primarily Shona tribespeople led by Robert Mugabe. The white prime minister opened formal negotiations with Nkomo, perceiving him as the more moderate individual, only to be told that any new constitution would have to mandate black majority rule immediately.

The final blow for Smith came in 1979 when Nkomo and Mugabe put aside their differences and united ZAPU and ZANU for an all-out attack on Southern Rhodesia. The unity of rebel leaders forced Smith to the bargaining table in London, and the Republic of Zimbabwe was born. Black majority rule was restored to the nation, with elections set for 1980. Voting in the first Zimbabwean election reflected party strengths. Mugabe, the leader of ZANU and a member of the more numerous Shona tribe, was elected prime minister. He immediately appointed Nkomo as one of his top deputies, thus giving ZAPU supporters a role in the new government.

New Troubles for Nkomo

The alliance was a fragile one, however. Within two years, Mugabe fired Nkomo and accused him of plotting a coup with ZAPU soldiers. Nkomo denied any plot, but many of his followers resorted to violence in protest of Mugabes actions. In the spring of 1983 the situation became so precarious for Nkomo that he fled Zimbabwe in secret. His home was ransacked and his servant murdered by Mugabes government troops. I ran away from my grave, Nkomo told Newsweek. By August he was back in Zimbabwe, but the fighting between ZAPU and ZANU supporters continued. The warfare split Zimbabwe along tribal lines, and although atrocities were committed by both sides, the smaller Ndebele tribeNkomos peoplereportedly suffered the most. Fighting was concentrated in Matabeleland, the province where Nkomo was born.

In 1987 ZAPU was forbidden to hold rallies and its offices were closed by the government. Nkomo had lived through the years of white repression only to see his political party repressed by yet another regime. The violence continued, and although Nkomo told the New Leader that the dissidents acted alone, without external support or higher command, it seemed increasingly likely that arms were being supplied to ZAPU by South Africa in order to continue the civil war in Zimbabwe.

This knowledgeand the continuing atrocitiesled Mugabe to seek an accord with Nkomo. During the Christmas holidays in 1987, the two former rebels joined hands, symbolically fusing their political parties, and called for an end to the fighting. Africa Report contributor Andrew Meldrum wrote that throughout the spring of 1988, Nkomo was featured making impassioned appeals for his followers to support the... government and to end all cooperation with the dissident rebels. At his side were top ZANU ministers, who just a year earlier had described Nkomo himself as a dissident.

Nkomo became vice-president of Zimbabwe, with duties that included development of rural areas such as Matabeleland. The combination of ZANU and ZAPU (which became known as ZANU-PF) effectively brought one-party rule to Zimbabwe. In 1990 Mugabe was re-elected as executive president under a new constitution, Nkomo was retained as one of two vice-presidents, and ZANU-PF won 116 of 120 seats in Parliament.

A diplomatic and political victory of such massive proportions seemed to indicate strong electoral support for a one-party state. Unfortunately for the Mugabe administration, Zimbabwe has been beset by problems, from unemployment running as high as 50 percent to soaring inflation and industrial decay. The whites who once ran the industries and commercial farms left the country in droves without training blacks to assume professional roles. In addition, even though the government controls the principal newspaper and the only television and radio stations in the country, reports of high-level corruption have leaked repeatedly. Dissatisfaction with the Mugabe administrationadded to the example of other African countries that have recently opted for democracypose a great challenge to the one-party rule currently in place in Zimbabwe.

New political parties are springing up in Zimbabwe to challenge the ZANU-PF monopoly on power. Even Nkomos former ZAPU party contains a substantial number of dissatisfied citizens. The outcome of future elections in the fledgling state can only be a matter of conjecture, but one thing seems certain: Joshua Nkomo, who made a black-run Republic of Zimbabwe his lifes goal, will remain a popular national hero long after his days in office are done. It would be a pity, wrote Norman Gelb in the New Leader, if there is no longer room in Zimbabwe for a man who did so much to close the book on [white] minority rule.

Sources

Books

Charlton, Michael, The Last Colony in Africa: Diplomacy and the Independence of Rhodesia, Basil Blackwell, 1990.

Periodicals

Africa Report, March/April 1988; March/April 1990; July/August 1990; January/February 1991; March/April 1992; July/August 1992.

Christian Science Monitor, June 28, 1963.

New Leader, April 18, 1983; December 12, 1988.

Newsweek, March 21, 1983; August 29, 1983.

Time, March 18, 1985; January 4, 1988.

Additional information supplied by the Zimbabwe Embassy, Washington, D.C.

Anne Janette Johnson

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Nkomo, Joshua

Joshua Nkomo

1917-1999

Political leader

Joshua Nkomo, who was called the "father of Zimbabwean nationalism" for his role in ensuring black majority rule in the African nation of Zimbabwe (formerly Southern Rhodesia), later served as one of two vice presidents in a one-party government headed by Robert Mugabe. New Leader correspondent Kurt M. Campbell wrote of Nkomo: "The man who founded the nationalist resistance to white rule and spent a decade in a Rhodesian prison … has now assumed the mantle of elder statesman in the government." Nkomo's acceptance of the position in 1988 brought a lasting partnership of the country's two leading political parties, thus effectively ending a half-decade of bloody civil war.

Nkomo told the New Leader, "The unity between our [Zimbabwean] peoples is something we had to bring about. We could look around the region and see how South Africa has played on our weaknesses. Now we are together…. Zimbabwe is situated in a volatile, violent region, and we need to face the future united." The unity that Nkomo sought as Zimbabwe's vice president was no longer challenged by deadly tribal warfare, but by persistent calls for a multiparty democracy in future national elections.

The history of European settlement in the territory now known as Zimbabwe began on September 13, 1890, when the flag of Great Britain was raised at Fort Salisbury. The British colonists called the area Southern Rhodesia, in honor of millionaire industrialist Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes had plans for the landlocked region, and he paid armed soldiers to subdue the native African tribes, especially the Shona and Ndebele, who had united against the invaders. By 1901 white settlers were pouring into Southern Rhodesia, forcibly seizing the best farmland and overseeing the mining of gold, chrome ore, and platinum.

Was Born into Colonialism

Joshua Nkomo was born in 1917 in the part of Southern Rhodesia that became known as Matabeleland. He was a member of the Ndebele tribe, a minority group next to the larger, more powerful Shona tribe. Despite the imposition of white rule, Nkomo's father was able to hold onto some prime grazing land. The family owned a thousand head of cattle and was prosperous enough to seek formal education for the children. The young Nkomo attended a Catholic mission school, where he completed the equivalent of an elementary school education.

As a teen, Nkomo moved to the regional capital, Bulawayo, where he made money for secondary school by working as a carpenter and truck driver. He was able to earn enough to move to South Africa, where he completed his secondary education at the Government School of Adams College. He then attended the Jan Hofmeyer School of Social Work in Johannesburg, before returning to his homeland in 1947 to take a job as a social welfare worker with the Rhodesian Railways. He was the first black man to hold such an important job on the nation's rail lines.

The country Nkomo called home was prosperous enough—though mainly for white settlers only. By 1930, the colonists from Great Britain had taken control of the government and forcibly relocated black farmers and businessmen to give more economic opportunity to the whites. Native Africans were moved to the poorest and most inaccessible land and were forbidden to compete with whites in growing cash crops such as tobacco and cotton. Blacks were relegated to positions of servitude within commercial farming or industry, and few of them were able to earn a college degree.

Shifted from Welfare Work to Politics

As one black man who did graduate from college—earning a bachelor's degree from the University of South Africa—Nkomo was appalled by the state of affairs in his country. Even though he had a good job with the Rhodesian Railways, the inequity visited upon his fellow Zimbabweans moved him to exert himself politically. He became general-secretary of the Rhodesian Railways African Employees' Association and built that group into a powerful organization with twenty-two branches and more than twenty-five hundred members. His activities with the organization met with white approval because he seemed willing to cooperate with the ruling regime. In fact, he was perceived as such a moderate that he was invited to London in 1952 to represent black opinion at a planning conference for three British colonies, including Southern Rhodesia.

That conference represented the turning point in Nkomo's career. He rejected all proposals that left the government of Southern Rhodesia in white hands, and he returned home in protest. Within the year, he was elected president of Southern Rhodesia's African National Congress (ANC), a nationalist organization devoted to ending white minority rule. Nkomo served as president of the ANC from 1953 until the party was banned in 1959. His duties included travel abroad to speaking engagements on the party's behalf, and thus he was outside of Southern Rhodesia when the white government cracked down on the ANC and jailed some of its leaders.

The 1960s brought heightened tensions to many African nations caught in the yoke of colonial rule. In Southern Rhodesia a series of white prime ministers adopted harsher and harsher tactics against black nationalists. In turn, the blacks learned guerilla warfare techniques from sympathizers in the Soviet Union and China. Even though they were constantly under the threat of drought and poor farm yields, Southern Rhodesia continued to prosper economically, which in turn drew more whites into the country.

Founded the Zimbabwe African Peoples' Union

In July of 1961 Southern Rhodesia adopted a new constitution that allowed a small number of native Africans to enter Parliament. Nkomo supported the new constitution at first, but then changed his mind. Still perceived as a moderate, he watched his popularity erode while more militant Africans demanded black majority rule immediately. In response, he formed a political party, the Zimbabwe African Peoples' Union (ZAPU), and appealed to the United Nations for economic sanctions against Southern Rhodesia. His passionate speech in New York City in 1962 brought results. Many nations agreed to the sanctions, but some—including England and the United States—continued to offer covert support to Southern Rhodesia.

At a Glance …

Born Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo on June 19, 1917, in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe); son of a cattle farmer; married; children: one daughter. Education: Attended Jan Hofmeyer School of Social Work, Johannesburg, South Africa; University of South Africa, BA.

Career: Rhodesian Railways, social welfare worker, 1947-52; Rhodesian Railways African Employees' Association, general-secretary, 1952-53; African National Congress (of Southern Rhodesia), president, 1953-59; National Democratic Party (of Southern Rhodesia), director of international and external affairs, 1960-61; Zimbabwe African People's Union, founder and leader, 1961-88; vice president of Zimbabwe, 1988-99.

In the meantime, ZAPU was gaining popularity—and making military in-roads—in Southern Rhodesia. Dur- ing 1963, Nkomo was arrested and brought to court four times for leading demonstrations and making subversive statements. Even so, he was perceived as too moderate by a wing of ZAPU, and the more radical elements formed a new party, the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). The methods proposed by ZAPU and ZANU were slightly different, but the aim remained the same: to oust white minority rule in favor of a government run by black Africans.

In April of 1964 Ian Smith was named prime minister of Southern Rhodesia. A white conservative determined to make the country safe and even more prosperous for its white inhabitants, Smith began a ruthless crusade against the black nationalists. One of Smith's first acts was to banish Nkomo to a detention center in a remote region. Violent riots broke out all over the nation, but they were suppressed. All told, Smith kept Nkomo in a series of isolated "camps" for ten years. Just as in the case of South African activist Nelson Mandela, this incarceration without trial only served to heighten Nkomo's popularity, and both ZAPU and ZANU attracted recruits for the struggle against the Smith administration.

The end of Portuguese rule in the African nations of Angola and Mozambique in 1974 gave impetus to the nationalist movement in Southern Rhodesia, and Smith was finally forced to free Nkomo. As leader of ZAPU, Nkomo moved to Zambia, using that African country as a staging area for guerilla attacks on whites in Southern Rhodesia. Smith called for peace talks, but the violence continued because Nkomo refused to halt the warfare while the white government negotiated a new constitution. Smith found himself besieged by the forces of ZAPU—drawn mostly from the Ndebele peoples—and ZANU—a larger group of primarily Shona tribespeople led by Mugabe. The white prime minister opened formal negotiations with Nkomo, perceiving him as the more moderate individual, only to be told that any new constitution would have to mandate black majority rule immediately.

Helped Establish the Republic of Zimbabwe

The final blow for Smith came in 1979, when Nkomo and Mugabe put aside their differences and united ZAPU and ZANU for an all-out attack on Southern Rhodesia. The unity of rebel leaders forced Smith to the bargaining table in London, and the Republic of Zimbabwe was born. Black majority rule was restored to the nation, with elections set for 1980. Voting in the first Zimbabwean election reflected party strengths. Mugabe, the leader of ZANU and a member of the more numerous Shona tribe, was elected prime minister. He immediately appointed Nkomo as one of his top deputies, thus giving ZAPU supporters a role in the new government.

The alliance was a fragile one, however. Within two years, Mugabe fired Nkomo and accused him of plotting a coup with ZAPU soldiers. Nkomo denied any plot, but many of his followers resorted to violence in protest of Mugabe's actions. In the spring of 1983 the situation became so precarious for Nkomo that he fled Zimbabwe in secret. His home was ransacked and his servant murdered by Mugabe's government troops. "I ran away from my grave," Nkomo told Newsweek. By August, he was back in Zimbabwe, but the fighting between ZAPU and ZANU supporters continued. The warfare split Zimbabwe along tribal lines, and even though atrocities were committed by both sides, the smaller Ndebele tribe—Nkomo's people—reportedly suffered the most. Fighting was concentrated in Matabeleland, the province where Nkomo was born.

In 1987 ZAPU was forbidden to hold rallies, and its offices were closed by the government. Nkomo had lived through the years of white repression only to see his political party repressed by yet another regime. The violence continued, and even though Nkomo told the New Leader that the dissidents "acted alone, without external support or higher command," it seemed increasingly likely that arms were being supplied to ZAPU by South Africa to continue the civil war in Zimbabwe.

This knowledge—and the continuing atrocities—led Mugabe to seek an accord with Nkomo. During the Christmas holidays in 1987, the two former rebels joined hands, symbolically fusing their political parties, and called for an end to the fighting. Africa Report contributor Andrew Meldrum wrote that throughout the spring of 1988, "Nkomo was featured making impassioned appeals for his followers to support the … government and to end all cooperation with the dissident rebels. At his side were top ZANU ministers, who just a year earlier had described Nkomo himself as a dissident."

Became the Vice President of Zimbabwe

Nkomo became vice president of Zimbabwe, with duties that included the development of rural areas such as Matabeleland. The combination of ZANU and ZAPU (which became known as ZANU-PF) effectively brought one-party rule to Zimbabwe. In 1990 Mugabe was reelected as executive president under a new constitution, Nkomo was retained as one of two vice presidents, and ZANU-PF won 116 of 120 seats in Parliament.

A diplomatic and political victory of such massive proportions seemed to indicate strong electoral support for a one-party state. Unfortunately for the Mugabe administration, Zimbabwe has been beset by problems, from unemployment running as high as 50 percent to soaring inflation and industrial decay. The whites who once ran the industries and commercial farms left the country without training blacks to assume professional roles. Although the government controls the principal newspaper and the only television and radio stations in the country, reports of high-level corruption have repeatedly surfaced.

Nkomo served as vice president from 1988 until his death in 1999. In the final years of his tenure, his deteriorating health and failure to address political challenges led to a decline in his influence. While Nkomo disagreed with Mugabe's tendency toward autocracy, he was unable to mount a successful political resistance. Nkomo withdrew from the public during the last years of his life and died in July of 1999 of complications from prostate cancer. He left a lasting impression on the Zimbabwean populace. Though many feared that a civil war might erupt in the wake of his death, government leaders praised Nkomo for his leadership and pledged to work toward conciliatory policies in his honor. Nkomo was buried in the National Heroes Acre in Harare, at a funeral attended by thousands of mourners including a number of international dignitaries. In his speech, President Mugabe spoke with admiration about Nkomo's role in history and described him as the "founder of the nation."

Sources

Books

Charlton, Michael, The Last Colony in Africa: Diplomacy and the Independence of Rhodesia, Basil Blackwell, 1990.

Periodicals

Africa Report, March-April 1988; March-April 1990; July-August 1990; January-February 1991; March-April 1992; July-August 1992.

Al-Ahram Weekly, July 21, 1999.

Christian Science Monitor, June 28, 1963.

New Leader, April 18, 1983; December 12, 1988.

Newsweek, March 21, 1983; August 29, 1983.

New York Times, July 2, 1999.

Time, March 18, 1985; January 4, 1988.

Online

"World: Africa Mandela Leads Tributes to Joshua Nkomo," BBC Online,http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/382604.stm (accessed December 19, 2007).

Other

Additional information supplied by the Zimbabwe embassy, Washington, D.C.

—Anne Janette Johnson and Micah L. Issit

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Nkomo, Joshua

Nkomo, Joshua (1917–1999). Pioneer Zimbabwean African nationalist. After studying in South Africa, Nkomo returned to work on the Rhodesian Railways and became president of the black railway workers' union in 1951. He was elected president of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1957 and was founder and president of the National Democratic Party in 1960 and the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) in 1961 as each of the earlier parties was banned. Nkomo was detained by the white-controlled government from 1964 to 1974 and then led ZAPU, in alliance with Robert Mugabe's ZANU, in a guerrilla war against the government. In the peace negotiations held in London in 1979 he was overshadowed by Mugabe, and when the latter became prime minister of Zimbabwe in 1980, relations between the two remained uneasy. In 1987 ZANU and ZAPU united and, when Mugabe became the country's executive president, Nkomo was appointed vice-president.

Kenneth Ingham

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Nkomo, Joshua

Nkomo, Joshua (1917–99) Zimbabwean statesman, vice-president (1990–99). In 1961, he became leader of ZAPU. In 1976, Nkomo and Robert Mugabe formed the Patriotic Front in opposition to Ian Smith's white-minority government in Rhodesia. In 1982, he was dismissed from Mugabe's government, but returned in 1988.

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