VICE-PRESIDENT Phelekezela Mphoko’s first six months in office have been an unmitigated disaster to say the least.
Mphoko has offended vendors, Zapu supporters, Zimbabweans in South Africa and victims of the Gukurahundi massacres with his loose tongue.
The greatest insult is without doubt his spirited attempts to re-write Zimbabwean history, particularly the period between 1982 and 1987 where thousands of civilians were killed or tortured by the 5th Brigade in some parts of the country.
Soon after his surprise December 2014 appointment ahead of many well respected former Zapu cadres, Mphoko shockingly told State media Gukurahundi was a myth.
Contrary to historical records, the new Vice-President claimed President Robert Mugabe cannot be held responsible for the massacres by the 5th Brigade despite the fact that it was deployed to Matabeleland and Midlands by the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
Mphoko bizarrely claimed Gukurahundi was a Western conspiracy to discredit Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF.
The unfortunate remarks even shocked some of the President’s ardent supporters with Information minister Jonathan Moyo refusing to endorse them.
Moyo referred to Mugabe’s statements where he described the killings as a moment of madness.
However, it appears this did not deter Mphoko from his revisionist crusade as he was back last week claiming that Mugabe was being vilified for something he did not do.
Besides crying more than the bereaved, the Vice-President is insulting the victims of the massacres some who are still alive today and are awaiting Mugabe’s unequivocal apology.
The massacres that left over 20 000 people dead were documented in reports commissioned by the government and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.
Government has refused to release the Chihambakwe Commission of Inquiry report that should provide the official account of what transpired during that “moment of madness”.
Mphoko is advised to acquaint himself with such literature before uttering inflammatory statements.
The late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo also wrote authoritatively about Gukurahundi in his biography The Story Of My Life.
Nkomo, one of the prominent victims of the campaign, writes in detail how Gukurahundi was planned and executed.
Mugabe’s recorded statements during the killings showed that he was in charge of the pogrom and it is baffling that Mphoko, who is also a victim, would seek to whitewash such facts.
It is particularly worrying that Mphoko is also the minister in charge of National Healing and Reconciliation whose mandate is to heal the rifts caused by conflicts such as Gukurahundi.
Clearly, the Vice-President would not be able to carry out this mission successfully because he is prejudiced and strongly believes he is the only one with a true record of the disturbances.
Mugabe should rein in his deputy who risks polarising the country further by opening old wounds.
On the other hand, Mphoko should keep some of these senseless statements to himself because they are an insult to victims of the killings.
In any other country, he would have been forced to resign for making such statements, but this is Zimbabwe.