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GOVERNMENT has replaced bollards surrounding the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo statue in Bulawayo that were knocked down by motorists, while a permanent solution in controlling traffic around the statue is being found.

The statue was mounted in December 2013 at the intersection of 8th Avenue and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street.

Reckless motorists have over the years destroyed the bollards by crashing into them. Authorities have previously warned that there was a danger of the late Father Zimbabwe’s statue getting knocked down.

Since Monday, work crews from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage have been sprucing the statue.

The National Museum and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) is leading the process.

A Chronicle news crew observed the NMMZ team replacing the barricades that had been knocked down by motorists while others were cleaning the statue.

NMMZ director Dr Godfrey Mahachi said his department is in discussions with other stakeholders in addressing incidents of vehicles crashing into the statue.

“Sprucing up must be a regular thing, it must be done as regular as possible because the statue must always be in a position that reflects the respect that the people of this country have bestowed on the late former Vice-President. But what we are doing today is more than just sprucing up; we are doing renovations.

“And those renovations arise from the fact some of the infrastructure around the statue has been knocked down over the years by vehicular traffic,”

said Dr Mahachi.

“But our ability to intervene on a regular basis will probably be unproductive because what we need to put in place are long term measures. We need to find the reasons why such accidents have been taking place. We have replaced the bollards but if we are not going to address the causes of motorists approaching the statue at the speed that they do, which results in those accidents then we will enter a vicious cycle where now and again we have to be replacing the bollards.”

He said they could come with a permanent solution that will deter motorists from speeding upon approaching the heritage site.

Dr Mahachi said it was undesirable to have motorists crashing into the statue and its surroundings.

He said motorists should exercise caution upon approaching the statue in respect of late Father Zimbabwe.

Dr Mahachi said cleaning the statue on a daily basis is not necessary.

Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Bulawayo Judith Ncube weighed in on the matter saying the late Vice President Dr Nkomo’s statue needs to be respected considering his status among Zimbabweans.

“That is Father Zimbabwe, if we fail to spruce up his statue and make it presentable what does it say about us? We have to spruce it up like our homes. We have to restore dignity to that place while working on permanent solutions so that vehicles do not crash into it again,”

said Minister Ncube.— @nqotshili

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