Zapu and MDC-N have accused Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa of making “provocative and irresponsible” statements over the contentious Gukurahundi massacres.
The parties called on Mnangagwa to publicly apologise for his role in the alleged “genocide” which claimed 20 000 lives in the Midlands and Matabeleland.
In an interview in the State-controlled Chronicle at the weekend, Mnangagwa castigated the private media for reportedly opening old wounds on Gukurahundi and declared it was a closed chapter.
“The people who are vocal on the Gukurahundi issue have selfish agendas that they are pushing. They want to divide the nation by making unfounded allegations,” he said.
Yesterday, strenuous efforts to get a comment from Mnangagwa were fruitless as his mobile phone was switched off.
However, Mnangagwa, the Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs, has been accused by some politicians of playing a leading role in the Gukurahundi massacres.
According to the Chronicle of March 5 1983, Mnangagwa likened “dissidents” to “cockroaches that needed to be fumigated”.
“Likening the dissidents to cockroaches and bugs, the minister said the bandit menace had reached such epidemic proportion that the
government had to bring in ‘DDT’ (5th Brigade) to get rid of the bandits,” read part of the article.
But Zapu spokesperson Methuseli Moyo yesterday said Mnangagwa’s remarks were “provocative, irresponsible and not fit to be uttered by someone who knows for sure that 20 000 innocent people lost their lives at the hands of the 5th Brigade”.
“What makes his remarks more provocative is that they come from someone who . . . has never even bothered to say ‘I am sorry’ to the people of Matabeleland and Midlands. Mnangagwa’s comments are tantamount to a criminal ‘acquitting’ himself even before he has been arrested and tried.
“Zapu wishes to make it clear that . . . the chapter is far from being closed. Those perpetrators unfortunate enough to live until the next election should surely brace themselves to come face-to-face with the consequences of their actions. There can be no closure without truth, justice and meaningful healing and reconciliation,” he said.
Moyo added Mnangagwa ought to know that Vice–President John Nkomo, Zanu PF national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo, Cain Mathema, Naison Ndlovu and other ex-Zapu leaders still in Zanu PF had chosen to remain bound by the 1987 Unity Accord on their own volition.
“They have no legitimacy whatsoever to represent anyone in Matabeleland or in Zapu, not even their own families,” he said.
MDC-N deputy secretary-general and National Healing co-minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu said his party believed it was not for perpetrators of the genocide to tell the victims to forgive and forget.