Charamba underfire over Gukurahundi remarks

George Charamba

OPPOSITION political parties and civic groups have hit out at presidential spokesperson George Charamba for “absolving” President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s of any blame in the Gukurahundi massacres.


They argued the timing of Charamba’s claims was suspicious as it came when the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has just begun consultative meetings on Gukurahundi and other past human rights violations.

Charamba, in an opinion piece published in a local weekly, said Mnangagwa was then “just a ministerial minion” with no capacity to commandeer the army to conduct the atrocities, but opposition parties and civic groups said the President can only be absolved by a truth commission.

“What surprises is the fact that Charamba is jumping to absolve Mnangagwa just when the latter has operationalised the NPRC, which is charged with resolving atrocities that include Gukurahundi. We now are asking ourselves what it is that Charamba knows concerning the NPRC that we don’t,” Zapu spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said.

“He knows NPRC cannot absolve Mnangagwa, whose involvement in Gukurahundi is so blatant and recorded. We have come to the conclusion that Charamba knows the process of the NPRC is just window dressing, hence, jumping the gun and absolving the hand holding the spoon from which he’s feeding. He knows it is a useless body put in place to pacify the nation and the world.”

Mnangagwa has repeatedly distanced himself from the Gukurahundi massacres, which claimed over 20 000 civilian lives in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the 1980s.
“The role Mnangagwa played is well-documented, and we don’t expect his spokesperson to try to trivialise the genocide. Trying to exonerate him before the NPRC concludes its investigations is sad. Let the Chihambakwe Commission of Inquiry report on Gukurahundi be publicised, and be exonerated if he is clean,” Ibhetshu LikaZulu co-ordinator, Mbuso Fuzwayo said.

Former President Robert Mugabe, who ordered the inquiry, kept a tight lid on the report of the findings until he stepped down in November last year.

Economic Reform Assembly leader, Amos Dangwa said Charamba should not play blame games on Gukurahundi.

“It does not help anybody for people like Charamba to continue playing blame games, while people in Matabeleland continue to be marginalised. There is no need to defend anyone on this issue. People should simply own up their involvement in Gukurahundi and let the nation move forward.”

MDC Alliance Bulawayo spokesperson, Felix Magalela Sibanda said Charamba was being mischievous by trying to exonerate and defend Mnangagwa over a sensitive issue.

“As MDC Alliance Bulawayo, we are extremely shocked and apprehensive by the unrepentant league of Zanu PF diehards. It is an insult to people of Matabeleland in particular and Zimbabweans in general,” he said.

“As MDC family, we hold Charamba and his principal responsible for causing alarm and despondency among Zimbabweans. We and rational civic society organisations call the government of ED (Mnangagwa) to be more responsive than that of former President Robert Mugabe.”

Sibanda said the Mnangagwa administration was unrepentant.

“Who does not know what role ED played in the wanton destruction of life and property of civilians in those days of the ‘moment of Mugabe and his Cabinet madness?’ We demand retraction of Charamba’s statement to avoid massive and unprecedented action against ED’s government,” Sibanda, who is also MDC-T Bulawayo spokesperson, said.
“It is, therefore, useless to hold national healing consultative meetings if the perpetrators are unrepentant.”


  1. People are blaming Mnangagwa for gukurahundi, without specifying in what way he was involved in the tragedy.

    • ED was the intelligence gatherer, Enos Nkala organised the guns, cabinet approved the action as it was presented to it as ‘a civil war in making’ Robert Mugabe gave the executive order Perence Shiri led the troops. More on ED at rally in Lupane he refered to the dissidents and villagers perceived as collaborators, as mother f…that needed to be worsted.

    • ED was the intelligence gatherer its believed he overstated the state of affairs to a pending civil war to warrant military response or heavy handedness. Enos Nkala organised the guns Perence Shiri led the troops. Robert Mugabe gave the executive order. It must also be noted that Robert Mugabe and co – majority of cabinet wanted Zimbabwe to be a one party state. Hence they deliberately did not address the grievance raised by zipra cadres who were not fairly intergrated into the ZNA. Also in 1980 they did not treat Father Zimbabwe with respect when they gave him a lowly home affairs ministry when he should have been the president or the prime minister.

  2. Intelligence gathering to masacre defenceless people. SERIOUS CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. Zimbabwe’s withdrawal from the International Court of Justice was crafted to avoid accountability. This ED commission will just windowdress a senseless situation. If ED is innocent let him open up to the international court to put this to rest once and fir all

  3. What about Atrocities and Heinous Acts committed by the Dissidents in some cases with the assistance of Villagers we just turn a blind eye and say it was all in order as there wanted to remove Bob what a load of crap by the perpetrators of this subject and the onlines being used to force a wedge in our society.

  4. How can a massive 20 000 people or so be murdered in cold blood & there fails to be anyone at all responsible for that, we need names & fast

  5. What people fail to understand is that Ndebele people started these disturbances and a lot of Shona people were murdered in Matebeleland region. We have relatives who died at the hands of Matebele people. These things happened more than 35 years ago so i feel that we should completely close this chapter and stop opening old wounds. There was President, Minister of Defense, Commander Defence Forces and logically how can we directly link ED to the disturbances. What if the Fifth Brigade didnt intervene? How many Shona speaking people would have died and mungadai muchitii?

  6. What do people really want. For E.D to arrest himself & disqualify himself from Presidency or elections. For him to hand himself over to Hague. Does MRP or any affected person expect a sitting African President who removed a dictator Mugabe to just hand over power to Chamisa or Mthwakazi on admission. Lets be real guys, no one does that.

  7. something is disturbing…Charamba might have a point but he must let the commission find out…in the court of lwa what he is doing is tarntamount(sp) to interfering with witneses

  8. something is disturbing…Charamba might have a point but he must let the commission find out…in the court of lwa what he is doing is tarntamount(sp) to interfering with witneses

  9. Can we go as far back as nguva yamadzviti in this inquiry? I feel that it will be very unfair to leave that part of genocidal grabbing by the Ndebele Impis.

  10. My opinion in this regard is that we should just let bygones be bygones. No one among the dead, both Ndebele and Shona are going to benefit from this arrangement. We are a people together, of course not blameless. We should learn from the past mistakes and never allow tribal issues to have centre stage in the lives of all Zimbabweans. Being bitter from the things we can change will affect the way we think. Lets clear our minds and choose not to be prisoners of the past regardless of who did what. We are a people together and I implore you Zimbabweans to rise above hate.

  11. You people tell the truth these so called victims of Gukurahundi are not serious they pretend they want the commission to bring the truth to the public but they disrupt the proceedings everywhere every time. they are hiding something this issue of the commission’s composition is nonsense. Who was who in the Chihambakwe commission and where is it different from the current commission. come to this platform without taking ‘Musongodia or mbanje. SA was involved in this issue. Listen to ‘Cde’ Dabengwa when he talks about this issue.

  12. Thanks Sange you are one of the people who should be on this noble platform. The affected people are not given a chance to bring forward the truth by some rouge elements in our midst. Why disrupt the Commission when they are doing their work, these rouge elements wants to dictate who should be in the commission nonsense. Simply give the information you know about Gukurahundi if you don’t have shut up> Remember the Apartheid South Africa had a hand in this, listen to Dr. Dabengwa when he talks about this issue.

  13. mandevere akuzotibhohwa manje nenyaya yavo yegukurahundi and its time yekuvaudza chokwadi manje.mandevere haana kuuraya mashona here during the time yemadzviti ? did they apologize, did they pay any compensation to their victims ?.saka vanoda compensation yei yacho ?kana vachida compensation ngavatange ivo vacompensata mashona for the era yemadzviti.

    • what era was that, was this place a country or territory when the survival of the fittest was the order of the day, the brave (Ndebeles) conquered the cowards (Swinas)before whites came with civilisation.

  14. hapana kana compensation yavanofanira kuwana, not even a cent.The earlier they realize this the better. They should not even dream about compensation, ngavatokanganwa havo. Zvakatovharana !!!.

  15. Gukurahundi is not just about Ndebeles being massacred ,even shona civilians were killed by Ndebeles for being Shonas.We know a lot of them who were killed throughout Matabeleland and white farmers who were killed for supporting the government of the day.It was crazy because Ndebeles thought they could pull a surprise at Entumbane because most of the Zipra forces refused to be demobilised so technically for Zipras the war was not over until Nkomo was in charge.This PF was just to appease the OAU who insisted they fight together but Ndebeles never trusted Shona people.

  16. Kanti lina zinja zabantu why jump on to defence of this insane shona thing.let it be and anyone who wants to be heard is free not to be heard by compromised people.people are not against the hearing but are asking not to be dominated by the perpetrators its that simple maswina mani.what is it that you trying to hide.if there are shonas killed let it go through with uncompromised people so that the truth can come you idiots

  17. Tribes have been at war with each other since time immemorial as matter fact Chiefs and Kings were those that conqured with the villians becoming surbodinates. Civillisation and democracy brought that to an end, in this discussion it will be futile to refer to any wars prior to 1980 (when zim democracy was born). Gukurahundi was a government’s response to skimmishes caused by the government’s failure to accommodate zipra cadres into the new ZNA. As well as zanupf’s illadvised move to make Zim a one party state. The government must come clean on those failures. The challenge with the truth commission is its composition whereon all of them a non-Ndebele speaking how then will they be able to articulate/gather information.

  18. This issue, as much as it is sensitive but i think all parties are not being sincere. No-one will benefit from this exercise but it is being blown out of proportion. What happened happened, lets leave the bygones be bygones. Lets concentrate on the current development issues and build from there. lets not continue living in the past. Disrupting fact gathering meetings is another myopic and senseless activity. The composition of the Commission is balance with Ndebele`s and Shonas so that they can speak to all he stakeholders. It cannot constitute one language speaking commissioners. Some of those speak both languages, so whats the whole fuss about. Lets grow up and act like mature people who will seek to solve our problems through dialogue and desist from taking advantage of a situation and to try and ,ake it look like we are being opressed. Grow up Mthwakazi or whatever you call yourselves and start behaving like sane people

  19. Politically motivated violence started way back before the colonialists set their feet on the African continent. In Zimbabwe for example we had a situation of tribal conquest and the use of brutal force to take over either lands, wives, cattle, slaves and grain after harvest. It is a common act known from the past that tribes, especially those that came from down south, would usually organize raids on local tribes for power and benefits. It is therefore not true in its every sense that politically motivated violence was a product of the west. If the truth were to be said, politics in Africa was centered on empire building to an extent. The use of force among even the same tribe on issues of Kingship and Chiefdom has in most cases had its own victims. Such was the way then and that’s why you would have different clans organized from main clans, all for the Chiefdom and little wars would be fought on those grounds and force would be used to attain whatever goal expected. I think we just need to be responsible enough and accept that all humans, at one point may have employed violence to get certain spoils.

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  20. People who have nothing to offer will always raise issues that divide us and some rabid dogs without an iota of sense will always fall for this crap. No wonder Zimbabwe as a nation is really going nowhere fast. I believe those affected by gukurahundi have a right to be heard. They have brought up their case time and time again hence the setting up of a relevant commission.

    Those who have grievances over tribal wars and raids of the past are also free to take up their cause with relevant authories. Yap yapping on this and similar platforms will not address or redress anything.
    Asante sana

  21. What has happened in the past should not imprison anyone except those that are vengeful. How far back can one go to seek for redress of the ills of the past. It has happened all the world around and the difference is not about talking about the past ills, but a desire to acknowledge the failures of the past and the present duty to see to it that no such catastrophic genocides ever happen again. We have a country to run. We have emotions to control and a future to live to our children for inheritance. Yes I believe we must talk about issues of the past but with a progressive mind and a desire to unify the Zimbabweans regardless. No one should be muzzled in any manner, however after a dialogue we have to have a way forward. To those that are still closing the door to open discussion about any subject, they are the same as the perpetrators of human rights violations. So yes, give us space to do the yap yapping as long as we express what we feel should be done about our past. Asante sana.


  23. Sinyo mapa tsanangudzo yakana. Asi masiya kutsanangura kuti, ndiyani aive mutungamiriri weavo vayirwisana nemauto eHurumende, uye vaive vebato
    ripi? Sekubvunza kwaitwa neanonzi Mazivazvangumhakayakora. Uye ndiyani
    akabomba imba yayidyirwa, Kombahari iyo yaive munaAngwa st muHre, imba yekuAshdown Park Mabelreign neflat rakaradzwa nebombha raive muTV muHre????

  24. Ed conclude gukurahundi story and apologise for the statement;refering disdents as cockroaches

  25. Comment…Apologise for the statement refering disidents as cokroaches. Mafirakureva, unoreveyi apa? Aiita basa reyi maDISIDENTS???? Pane abvunza nezve nzvimbo dzakabhombwa nguva iyi
    kuti dzakabhombwa nani, uye vebato ripi, raitungamirirwa nanaani???? Uye zvinonzi Matebeleland kwakafa vanhu ZVIURU MAKUMI MAVIRI. Ko Midlands neMash West kwakafa ZVIURU zvingani?

  26. Apologise for the statement refering disidents as cokroaches. Mafirakureva, unoreveyi apa? Aiita basa reyi maDISIDENTS???? Pane abvunza nezve nzvimbo dzakabhombwa nguva iyi
    kuti dzakabhombwa nani, uye vebato ripi, raitungamirirwa nanaani???? Uye zvinonzi Matebeleland kwakafa vanhu ZVIURU MAKUMI MAVIRI. Ko Midlands neMash West kwakafa ZVIURU zvingani?

  27. What a very sensitive issue, are you aware how Gukurahundi started? We need someone to take it up from there and we will be able to find long and lasting solution.

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