Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Joshua Nkomo

Writing yesterday about Robert Mugabe and starvation in Zimbabwe has reminded me of the late Joshua Nkomo.

During the struggle for Rhodesia, Nkomo lead the Soviet backed ZAPU while his former lieutenant Mugabe lead ZANU which was supported by China. They were both involved in the negotiations that lead to the Lancaster House accord, but subsequently Mugabe stitched him up like a kipper in the aftermath of the 1980 elections.

Anyway, history lesson aside, back in the day the wife of a friend of mine was a nurse who worked for the dentist that Nkomo visited in London. I learned from her that he was so fat that they had to remove the armrests from the dentist's chair before they could fit him onto it for his treatment.

If there is a word in English for the combination of humour, horror, pity and disquiet that that image conjures up in while the people he supposedly fought for go hungry in 2005 I don't know what it is.

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