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MP’s comments spark demo

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AT LEAST 50 residents from Bulawayo’s Sizinda and Tshabalala suburbs yesterday demonstrated against Bulawayo South MP Eddie Cross (MDC-T) over comments he allegedly posted on his Facebook page last month perceived to be perpetuating stereotypes that Ndebele King Mzilikazi Khumalo’s followers were “violent and bloodthirsty”.

Report by Khanyile Mlotshwa Staff Reporter

The residents, mostly youths, marched from Maphisa Primary School to the MDC-T councillor for the area Reuben Matengu’s offices, where they danced and sang.

The placard-waving demonstrators accused Cross of perpetuating tribalism and urged party leader Morgan Tsvangirai to relieve him of his duties.

Some of the placards read: “Eddie Cross, stop your tribalism”, “Represent us we voted for you”, “Tsvangirai, take out Eddie Cross a tribalist”, “Retract your statements or you step down”; “Eddie Cross, (Sekai) Holland are one thing” and “What have we done wrong to be cursed by your people Tsvangirai?”

Part of Cross’ reportedly offensive Facebook message, dated September 30, read: “Once settled, they (the Ndebele) quickly established a reign of terror and mayhem over all of Central Africa. Each winter his (Mzilikazi’s) men were sent out to subjugate regional tribes and bring home cattle and other loot (it is still said that Ndebele women are very beautiful because they are all Shona in origin).

“Those tribes that resisted were simply wiped out. Sixty years later, my own forefathers arrived and in a series of battles defeated the Ndebele King at the time, a man called Lobengula. Lobengula is believed to have burnt his capital to the ground before he fled north and later committed suicide near the Zambezi River.”

The demonstration almost turned violent after Matengu dismissed the protest as “a political gimmick”. Matengu said: “This is just politics. I can recognise most of you who belong to Welshman Ncube (MDC). I know you.”

He later invited four of the demonstrators into his office where he allegedly denied knowledge of Cross’ remarks.

Ibetshu LikaZulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo later told NewsDay: “We can’t sit and watch while the people we voted to represent us go around saying Ndebele people are violent.
They are supposed to be representing us.”

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