By Bulawayo Correspondent
MATABELELAND based pressure groups and political parties have angrily reacted to Zanu PF top politician, Obert Mpofu’s contemptuous dismissal of anti-Gukurahundi activists he claimed were least qualified to speak authoritatively about the government atrocities.
The Zanu PF secretary for administration fired a salvo at anti-Gukurahundi campaigners, insisting they were less affected by the State sponsored 1980s atrocities which killed an estimated 20 000 innocent civilians in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces in the early years of independence.
“Where people have decided to be the spokespersons of that sad development, you see my constituency (Umguza, Matabeleland North) is one that was affected by those disturbances,” Mpofu said while officially launching his book, ‘On the Shoulders of The Struggle Memoirs of a Political Insider’ in Harare Thursday.
“I know the people who have been affected, I live with them, but we have people in towns, people in Harare and people in Bulawayo who have never been to rural area trying to convince me that they know Gukurahundi better than I do.”
But the activists would not let Mpofu escape with murder.
Prominent anti-Gukurahundi activist and Ibhetshu Likazulu coordinator, Mbuso Fuzwayo described Mpofu’s comments as divisive and reckless.
“We do not expect anything from Obert Mpofu, but his views are in bad taste. It is a view that does not build a nation,” Fuzwayo said.
“A nation is built by people who are human, who can show remorse, who can ask for forgiveness but if we are to say nothing must be done on Gukurahundi, you are in denial.”
The activist said Mpofu’s views on Gukurahundi were a clear reflection of Zanu PF and government’s position on the mass killings.
“Mpofu is the Secretary for Administration for Zanu PF and so what he says is what Zanu PF believes in.
“Zanu PF and the government must take full responsibility and by not taking full responsibility when survivors and victims are calling for a solution, they are literally saying because we defeated you, you cannot do anything to us which is not good for the nation and our future.
“So it is unfortunate that Mpofu and Zanu PF is what they think but I think it shows what type of government that is leading us but people must continue to fight in what they believe.”
Fuzwayo, whose NGO often organises Gukurahundi commemorative ceremonies, urged survivors of the atrocities not to relent in demanding lasting peace from both government and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).
Zimbabwe Economic Freedom Fighters (ZEFF) president Innocent Ndibali said Mpofu should apologise to the nation and in particular the people of Matabeleland and Midlands over his remarks.
“Mpofu knows that Gukurahundi victims are seeking justice and not revenge but he is selfish because he is saying what he wants his master to hear.
“He is a coward who has sold out his soul and Ubuntu for pieces of silver.
“It is shameful that he disrespects victims of a violent death in this manner.
“We call upon him to withdraw his statement and to apologise to the victims of Gukurahundi and to the nation as a whole and in particular Midlands and Matabeleland provinces,” said Ndibali.
His sentiments were also echoed by Zapu spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa who accused the Zanu PF honcho for being one of the perpetrators of the atrocities.
“Obert Mpofu’s role in Gukurahundi is well documented and every survivor is well aware of it. It does not surprise to hear such remarks from the sell-out because he is covering his stink.
“He has so much blood of Gukurahundi victims who fell victim to his collaborative antics with Zanu PF, especially those who were in Zapu leadership at that time,” Maphosa said.
The Zapu spokesperson also accused Mpofu of joining Zanu PF from Zapu after allegedly stealing money from the then Customs and Exercise duty department.
“Not only did he (Mpofu) cross the floor in 1982 to avoid arrest over public funds he allegedly embezzled at Customs Department, but also to get protection after selling out the mother party to Gukurahundists.
“He is known to have identified Zapu and ZIPRA properties for Zanu PF to grab and afterwards benefitted immensely from the loot.”
Maphosa added, “He has no moral leg to stand on and insinuate that we should forget about the genocide.
“After all, like all the perpetrators, we really do not expect anything different from his arrogant and unremorseful stance.
“However, he should go to hell if he thinks he can detect how victims should feel and what they should do about the genocide he is guilty of.”
Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) also had unkind words for the former mines minister.
“The utterances by the Obert Mpofu on his book shows how dangerous and ill-informed he is.
“He needs to tell us what role he played during the Gukurahundi as some of us feel that directly or indirectly he participated in the atrocities.
“Actually, his statement in trying to exonerate Zanu PF particularly (President) Mnangagwa is a reflection that he is still trying to gain favours as we are aware that he sold out on Mnangagwa and Jonathan Moyo on Tsholotsho Dinyane Declaration.
“He is actually the one who spilled the beans to Robert Mugabe and hence his name calling himself an obedient son to prove to Mugabe he gave him the most valuable information and served him,” said MRP president Mqondisi Moyo.
Moyo was referring to the infamous foiled secret meeting of Zanu PF chairpersons at Dinyane Secondary school in Tsholotsho 2004 to strategise on the succession of then President Mugabe by the then justice minister Mnangagwa.