ZANU PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu (pictured)’s call for Zimbabweans to simply wish away the Gukurahundi atrocities as bygones has drawn fire, with activists accusing the former Cabinet minister of being a sellout.
BY SILAS NKALA
Mpofu made the proposal in his book titled On the Shoulders of Struggle- Memoirs of a Political Insider.
On page 95 of the book, Mpofu says: “Finally, let bygones be bygones. Government should not be coerced into making reactionary subjective ‘apologies’ for Gukurahundi by forces pursuing a neo-colonial polarising agenda.”
Mpofu said the 1987 Unity Accord between the late former President Robert Mugabe and the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, who was Zapu leader before the agreement, symbolised the end of hostilities between the two liberation movements.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association chairman Ambrose Sibindi said Mpofu was not qualified to make those remarks because he was part of the system when the atrocities in Matabeleland and Midlands were committed.
“Mpofu was part of the system of Zanu PF genocide when they were killing people in Matabeleland,” Sibindi said.
“After all, some people believe that Mpofu cannot even speak because he is one of the people who sold out the people of Matabeleland. Since he was part of the perpetrators, he cannot tell the people to let bygones be bygones.”
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Sibindi said Mpofu’s remarks spoiled the spirit of reconciliation which people were calling for and showed that he and his friends in Zanu PF were not sincere about Gukurahundi and were taking people of Matabeleland for granted.
Human rights activist Effie Ncube said Gukurahundi killings constituted genocide and crimes against humanity and could not just be wished away without a public apology and compensation. “They can never belong in the past. Their lingering effects across all fields of life, social, economic, educational in Matabeleland and Midlands are still with us,” Ncube said.
“So there is no way in which Mpofu’s dream will ever be realised. He will die and live people campaigning for justice which they will eventually realise.”
Rural Community Empowerment Trust co-ordinator Vumani Ndlovu said Mpofu was not qualified to give substantive views on how the Gukurahundi issue should be handled.
“He was part of the Zanu PF system when the atrocities were committed. He crossed from PF Zapu to join Zanu PF. That mere fact that he decided to join Zanu and ditch PF Zapu at the height of Gukurahundi makes him an accomplice and part of the perpetrators,” Ndlovu said.
“He is singing for his supper and his statements are very reckless and insensitive.”
Third vice-president of the International Coalition Against Coronavirus for Africa Development (ICAC-AD) Maxwell Vuma Mkandla said Mpofu’s remarks were made out of selfishness. Mpofu’s book has already been nominated for this year’s Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards fourth edition under the Outstanding Literary Work-Non-Fiction category.
Former War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube’s book, Quiet Flows the Zambezi, which makes several recommendations on how Gukurahundi should be handled, has also been shortlisted for the awards.