DUMISO Dabengwa’s Zapu has taken issue with former President Robert Mugabe (pictured) after he blamed the party and Zipra, its military wing during the armed struggle, for instigating Gukurahundi massacres.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Mugabe on Thursday denied responsibility for the 1980s mass killings, arguing “Zapu and Zipra are also to blame”.
The former President also questioned the 20 000 deaths resulting from the mass killings.
“Mugabe does not at all surprise us as Zapu. He remains the same unrepentant blood-dripping monster who hid behind a thin finger of ‘madness’ when he killed hundreds of thousands during Gukurahundi. He is trying by all means to justify himself on the genocidal atrocities. We, however, are alive to the events and conspiracies that surrounded the genocide.
“We would rather remind Mugabe that the arms caches in Zipra properties were a deliberate and covert operation by the State secret service under Emmerson Mnangagwa, who himself remarked that they had to create a story and reason to justify the atrocities that followed the discovery,” Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa said yesterday.
Mugabe had unleashed a North Korean-trained military unit to crack down dissent to his rule in Matabeleland and Midlands, resulting in the death of over 20 000 civilians, according to the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice (CCJP).
The former President once described Gukurahundi as a “moment of madness”, and also dispatched a government probe team, the Chihambakwe Commission, to investigate the emotive issue. Its report was never made public.
“Mugabe’s denial of the genocide is in sharp contradiction with his statement at [Vice-President Joshua] Nkomo’s burial where he admitted that it was a moment of madness. His denial of the 20 000 deaths shows he really is mindful and aware of the magnitude of this madness and he surely knows that the number is for deaths in only two districts of Matobo and Tsholotsho.
“Mugabe is fully aware that these 20 000 are direct deaths at the hands of the Fifth Brigade, the number does not include curfew induced deaths of children, the elderly and the sick from malnutrition, hunger and disease,” Maphosa said.
“Mugabe fully knows that Gukurahundi deaths run into hundreds of thousands, hence his refusal to acknowledge the mere 20 000 that was given by the CCJP, whose survey or investigations only cover Matobo and Tsholotsho.”
The massacres began after the government discovered around 60 arms caches in Matabeleland, half of them at Gwayi, Zipra’s main base, and another 30 at a farm owned by a company connected to Zapu.