Bulawayo governor and Zanu PF deputy national spokesperson Cain Mathema yesterday came under fire from regional political party and civic society leaders, who accused him of making “reckless statements” over the emotive Gukurahundi issue.
Last week, Mathema described as “stupid and daft” those politicians pushing for victims of the Gukurahundi massacres to be compensated, arguing the 1987 Unity Accord between PF Zapu and Zanu PF was enough to end the hostilities and close the chapter.
Mathema made the remarks while giving a public lecture at Midlands State University in Gweru.
Zapu spokesperson for the southern region Methuseli Moyo said the statements were reckless.
“You would not expect a person from Matabeleland to utter such statements,” Moyo said.
MDC Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu echoed similar sentiments. saying they did not expect such utterances from a senior politician in the region.
“Mathema is taking his singing for his supper too far,” Ndlovu said.
“He is behaving like a super-Zanu PF member.
“He is insensitive to the victims of Gukurahundi yet some of them still do not have birth certificates and bones are scattered all over the country.”
Abednicho Bhebhe, MDC-T deputy organising secretary, described Mathema as “a disgrace” to Matabeleland.
“It should be investigated whether he really comes from Tsholotsho which was seriously affected by Gukurahundi,” he said.
“It is scary that Zanu PF has spoiled him to such levels.
“If investigations are done properly, we won’t be surprised to discover that Mathema had a hand in Gukurahundi,” said Bhebhe.
“He does not belong to normal society. Imagine the damage he has done to all those university students by feeding them those lies.”
Rodrick Fayayo, the coordinator of the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association, said Mathema had been on a warpath against the people of Matabeleland since his appointment as Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Zambia.
Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda director Effie Ncube said Mathema’s statement had isolated him from the region, adding “the Unity Accord did not compensate the victims neither did it bring to account its perpetrators”.
Habakkuk Trust chief executive officer Dumisani Nkomo weighed in, saying the statements were an insult to “the 20 000 people who were killed during Gukurahundi and the hundreds of thousands who were affected”.