Home » Governance » Gukurahundi – Mphoko a Disgrace, Say Activists

VICE President Phekelezela Mphoko’s recent attempt to absolve President Robert Mugabe of any culpability for the massacre of 20,000 civilians in Matebeleland and the Midlands by the military under his government, has infuriated activists in the region who feel the country’s second-in-charge was insensitive to the plight of the victims.

Mphoko, a political lightweight who surprisingly leapfrogged favourites to land his current job, last week chose the most controversial subject in post-independent Zimbabwe to thank his appointer by suggesting Mugabe’s hands were clean over the massacre.

“Gukurahundi after the war had nothing to do with Mugabe – nothing! That is a fact,” Mphoko told the Sunday Mail.

“…I have always said the post-Independence Gukurahundi was a conspiracy of the West. This I maintain …People can say what they want, but that was a Western conspiracy.”

Mphoko’s comments however elicited a g reaction from activists in Zimbabwe’s predominantly Ndebele Matebeleland region, who say the Ndebele politician, has betrayed his own people to please Mugabe.

“This is too outrageous and very serious an issue for us to allow to go unchallenged,” said MDC deputy secretary general and former national healing co-minister, Moses Mzila Ndlovu in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com Monday.

He added: “It is extremely disturbing to note that a figure who comes from Matebeleland would now want to play a leadership role in terms of exonerating President Robert Mugabe and his party from the crimes committed against the people of Matebeleland.

“He must be offending even himself, going by the statements that he is making. You can tell that he is not his own man. He is blowing someone else’s trumpet.

“I don’t know if he is singing for his supper. I don’t think this is genuinely coming from him. His approach has offended the people of Matebeleland immensely.”

Mzila-Ndlovu was adamant the Matebeleland massacres, described in passing as “an act of madness” by President Mugabe during the burial of long term rival turned vice Joshua Nkomo, were in fact a direct attempt by Mugabe to decimate Nkomo’s supporters in the region.

“I don’t know where the Vice President has been living whether he has been living somewhere in a vacuum outside Zimbabwe and is not aware and therefore shows insensitivity to the feelings of people in Matebeleland.

“Ever since he was appointed he has taken it upon himself to try to reduce this crime to an ordinary crime which can be explained away by saying that Mugabe said it was a moment of madness and therefore absolve Mugabe from a crime of genocide.”

The MDC politician said Mphoko, who doubles as national healing minister, has already compromised his impartiality as a sincere and objective arbiter on the country’s delicate national healing efforts.

“His job is already aborted,” Mzila-Ndlovu said.

“He has started on a totally wrong footing. If really he wants to lead the process of national healing, he cannot take sides by trying to exonerate Mugabe, he has already taken sides.”

Similarly, visual artist Owen Maseko, once arrested for displaying Gukurahundi images during an arts festival, said Mphoko should spare the British from the Gukurahundi mess.

“It does not matter whatever they think,” he said, “It was a tribal war which was mainly targeted at the Ndebele people in Matebeleland. You can’t blame the British for that when the evidence is bare.

“The Vice President is being very inconsiderate and clearly shows disrespect for the people in Matebeleland because this is a very sensitive issue he can’t just comment so negatively over a cup of tea as if this is something minor.”

Mbuso Fuzwayo, secretary of Ibhetshu Likazulu, a vocal NGO on Gukurahundi massacres also condemned the Vice President for his comments.

“Mphoko must be first taught his role. His role is to ensure he champions the national healing process to the satisfaction of everybody concerned and not to sit in judgement as to who is guilty or innocent,” Fuzwayo told NewZimbabwe.com.

“What he is saying is nonsense,” he continued, adding that Mphoko’s comments will likely defeat the national healing objective which he said remained in doubt under the current Mugabe regime.

Source : New Zimbabwe