ZANU PF and ZAPU members have described the death on John Landa Nkomo as the end an era of a “perfect administrator.”
Nkomo died at St Annes Clinic in the capital Harare on Thursday morning after a long battle with cancer.
President Robert Mugabe has issued a statement mourning Nkomo.
“He was taken to St Annes Hospital and he passed on sometime this morning. I would like to express on behalf of Government, our party ZANU-PF, my own self, cabinet, our sincerest condolences to his family, to his dear old mother, relatives and his friends,” Mugabe said.
The family was not immediately available for comment.
Zanu PF Bulawayo chairperson Killean Sibanda said he was shocked at the death of Nkomo.
“He was a gentleman and it is sad that we have lost him at a time when our political careers were developing,” said Sibanda.
ZANU PF politburo member Joshua Malinga said Nkomo was valuable to disability rights activists as he showed commitment to their cause when he was minister of labour, manpower planning and social welfare.
ZAPU member Mildred Mnkandla who is also a member of ZAPU’s executive council said Nkomo was a well disposed who worked harmoniously with other people.
“He managed to pull the best out of people,” she said.
Nkomo was Member of African National Congress in 1958-59 before joining National Democratic Party in 1960.
He joined the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) in 1961. Nkomo was arrested and detained at Gonakudzingwa for two years (1966-68).
Nkomo was once a Member of Parliament for Matebeleland North from 1980 to 1985.
He also served as deputy Minister of Industry and Energy in 1981 before being the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office responsible to the Deputy Prime Minister, 1982-84
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 Zanu-PF.
He was National Chairman of Zanu-PF until December 2009, when he was elected as Vice-President of the party.
As a consequence of his elevation to the party’s vice-presidency, he became Vice-President of Zimbabwe in December 2009.