Letter: Nkomo remembered

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The first innocent victims of any revolution or change in power are those who fall by the treacherous bullets of their ambitious revolutionary colleagues. Joshua Nkomo (Obituary, 2 July) was a great African leader. It would have been better for Zimbabwe if he had been President.

I met him in 1976 when I was an Iraqi diplomat in Cairo. I helped him get what he asked for: "I have 5,000 boys fighting to achieve independence. I want for them only military uniforms to wear and some dates to eat. I am not asking for money or anything else."

When I fell out of favour with my government, he, as Minister of Home Affairs, offered me a safe haven in Zimbabwe. But fate was mightier. We were both rewarded by our own socialist, democratic and progressive regimes - he was imprisoned by Mugabe and I was condemned to death by Saddam Hussein.


Maidenhead, Berkshire