Former Defence minister and Zanu PF founder member, Enos Nkala, has described as a “classic lie” long standing accusations he renounced his tribal origins at the height of Gukurahundi.
Nkala said all that was attributed to him was propaganda from people who resented him for going against the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, a man believed to be the father of Zimbabwean nationalism.
In an interview at his home in the leafy Woodlands suburb in Bulawayo, Nkala said over the years, he had ignored the rumours because “I did not want to popularise them by speaking about them”.
“My sin was that I left Joshua Nkomo (to form Zanu), mayibabo (oh my goodness), you don’t do that but I am arrogant, I don’t care,” he said.
“If you speak against a powerful person like Nkomo you should expect such a reaction. If you hold strong views you should be prepared to suffer for them.”
Nkala said the “propaganda” against him was probably concocted because he spoke his mind and in the process, ruffled the feathers of politicians within his Zanu PF party and even in PF Zapu.
He said Zapu supporters were “unforgiving” as seen by the manner in which the statement uttered by Zanu PF Central Committee member, Callistus Ndlovu, was still being discussed and “passed from generation to generation”.
Ndlovu, who served as a Cabinet Minister in the 1980s, was quoted as having described PF Zapu as a “dead donkey”.
Nkala said although Ndlovu reportedly uttered the statement, in his case it was a lie that he said: “Aluba ubuNdebele buyagezwa ngabe sengabugeza. (If at all one could wash off the Ndebele identity, I would have long done that)”.
“That’s a lie. The greatest lie about me. I had enemies in PF Zapu and within the party (Zanu PF) who would collaborate with some of my enemies to bring down Nkala and cast all kinds of aspersions about me, create lies about Nkala,” he said.
“I have never made such a statement, pick a newspaper with that item and say here it is. I challenge you. Don’t go around picking rumours.”
A prominent politician, Nkala asked: “Who said I made that statement? And where did I say that? Wherever we were attending public functions, television reporters and newspapers were there. I challenge you, bring the newspaper and name the day, where and when did I say that. Go and pick that one and help me.”
Nkala said reporters should not fall into the trap of “taking propaganda for the truth”.
“Many Ndebeles don’t like me, I disagreed with Nkomo and left Zapu, then (Ndabaningi) Sithole and then (President) Robert Mugabe and then sengizageza ubundebele (I will wash off my Ndebele identity). It’s nonsense, idiotic. You suffer for your views, your strong views, my denial will not help, go and pick the newspaper where I am quoted as having made the statement and show me.”