Founding Zanu PF member and former Cabinet minister Enos Nkala has come under fire from opinion leaders in Matabeleland for dismissing the effects of Gukurahundi and saying the region had no capable leaders.
Nkala was quoted in the State media insinuating that the people of Matabeleland were lazy.
He said although he was not against devolution of power, he felt there were no leaders in the region to exercise the authority.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association coordinator Rodrick Fayayo dismissed Nkala as an “attention-seeker trying to cleanse his role in the Gukurahundi atrocities”.
“The history we have had with Enos Nkala as the people of Matabeleland has never been good,” he said.
“He has been trying to cleanse himself from the Gukurahundi atrocities and failing, now he wants to get favours fromZanu PF.
“It is a clear fact that in the period between 1980 and 1990 when investors were pouring money into this country, infrastructure was being destroyed in this part of the country,” Fayayo said, adding that Nkala was talking about himself when he said there were no leaders in Matabeleland.
“When the people of Matabeleland thought he was a leader, he turned against them and perpetrated Gukurahundi that killed many people.
“I urge people to concentrate on more serious issues and leave Nkala to die with his guilt.”
Habakkuk Trust chief executive officer Dumisani Nkomo said: “We thought Nkala had repented since he was one of the people who perpetrated Gukurahundi. We cannot have a perpetrator of Gukurahundi insulting the people of Matabeleland.
“He cannot say there are no leaders in the region when there has not been an opportunity.
“Devolution gives the people the chance to lead themselves. On Gukurahundi, he should remember that it did not only kill the people’s spirits, but bodies whose bones are still lying all over.
“People have the physical and psychological wounds of Gukurahundi.”
Local analyst Zenzele Ndebele said Nkala deserved to be prosecuted for his role in Gukurahundi, alongside those who perpetrated it in Zanu PF.
“When we call for the perpetrators of Gukurahundi to be brought to book, we mean the likes of Nkala,” he said. “Nkala has been too isolated and is now trying to regain relevance by being controversial and posturing.”
Contacted for comment yesterday, Nkala stuck to his guns.
“They should identify the exact person who is marginalising them,” he said, “how are they being marginalised and we tackle those people. If it is (President Robert) Mugabe, then I will tackle him old as I am.
“If it’s the leaders that they chose to represent them, they have the power to remove those leaders. What I am saying is that let us not be afraid of darkness without hyenas and grab every opportunity that is there.
“Let us not cower from taking up opportunities because some time in history some people were killed.”
The former Defence minister also claimed that he was not against devolution of power.
“On devolution, I am not against it, but my worry is that there are no solid institutions where that political power will be transferred to,” he said.
“The organisations that are there are so fragmented, there is need to form solid institutions that will receive that power.”
Nkala resigned from government and Zanu PF in a huff after he was implicated in the Willowgate scandal. On May 18, he met Mugabe for 45 minutes at the Joshua Mqabuko International Airport sparking speculation he was planning to bounce back into politics.