PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has come under heavy attack from his coalition government partners and civic society groups who accuse him of turning a blind eye to problems facing Matabeleland, publicly dismissing prevailing sentiments that the region was economically marginalised when compared to other parts of the country.
Report by Nduduzo Tshuma, Staff Reporter
Speaking at the launch of the Hwange District Community Share Ownership Trust Scheme last Thursday, Mugabe denied sentiments that the government was deliberately marginalising the region, adding most parts of the country faced similar problems as encountered in Matabeleland.
MDC-T deputy organising secretary Abednicho Bhebhe yesterday described Mugabe’s statements as insincere and out of sync with the reality on the ground.
“That is the language of a guilty person,” Bhebhe said.
“Development means human freedom, yet we all know that there was a time when Mugabe’s government was at war with the people of Matabeleland. The truth of the matter is that if you go to Mashonaland, all the districts are connected to wide roads, but it is not the case in Matabeleland. The region is rich with mineral resources, tourism and culture, but they do not benefit the locals because of Mugabe’s government.”
MDC national spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube also castigated Mugabe for his remarks.
“It is a reality that Matabeleland went through a protracted elimination of able-bodied people during Gukurahundi, sending many people from the region into exile and to say Matabeleland is not marginalised is nonsensical,” he said.
“We understand though where his argument is coming from. He flies with a helicopter to a certain point where he gives an address, he does not know the state of roads and is out of touch with the plight of the people. Mugabe continues to marginalise the Matabeleland leadership by sidelining Welshman Ncube (MDC president) through his failure to swear him in as Deputy Prime Minister despite his fellow leaders from Sadc having betrayed his (Mugabe) folly in taking the stance by recognising Ncube.”
Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association co-ordinator Rodrick Fayayo said: “This is an indicator he remains unrepentant and his government will not do anything regarding the problems affecting Matabeleland. Teachers were killed and schools destroyed in Matabeleland and nothing was ever done to remedy that.”