By Robert Tapfumaneyi
OPPOSITION Zapu has scolded President Emmerson Mnangagwa for rushing to name a street in Bulawayo after himself before he has found time to come clean on his role in the 1980s Gukurahundi atrocities on 20 000 civilians by the army.
The then PF Zapu bore the brunt of the military crackdown under then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe in the early years of independence.
Mnangagwa was security minister when government visited atrocities on the predominantly Ndebele region.
Said Zapu in a statement, “Mnangagwa needs to clear his name from the Gukurahundi massacre first before he can think of imposing his name on any part of Matabeleland.
“It is his name that tops the bill whenever the topic of Gukurahundi is raised. Therefore, it is great disrespect for the thousands who are still grieving for their dear departed allegedly murdered at his direct orders.”
Last week, cabinet caused an uproar when it announced the renaming of major roads in Harare, Bulawayo and several urban centres of the country after the unpopular Zimbabwean incumbent.
A lot more roads were named after liberation war heroes from both Zanu (then) and PF Zapu as well as revered international revolutionaries.
Since the Gukurahundi atrocities, once described as a moment of madness by Mugabe 20 years ago, Mnangagwa has refused to apologise for his role in the holocaust.
The Zimbabwean leader remains a hated figure in Matabelelend.
In its statement, Zapu said each region in the country had its own heroes after who it could name its roads.
“Mutare has its hometown heroes in Jairos Jiri and Paul Matavire who deserve mention. So, does Bulawayo where great names like Solomon Skuza, brothers Peter and Adam Ndlovu, poet and musician Albert Nyathi quickly come to mind,” said the party once headed by late Father Zimbabwe and Vice President, Joshua Nkomo.
“Not even one sportsperson or musician was named; the likes of George Shaya, Byron Black, Moses Chunga, Proud Kilimanjaro Chinembiri, Evans Mambara and Oliver Mtukudzi.
“Why has the government chosen to impose Mnangagwa’s name on Bulawayo and other parts of the country without the consent of local residents. That alone amounts to dictatorship.”
Zapu was furious its immediate past leader, the late Dumiso Dabengwa’s name was not included among the new street names.
The once popular political party expressed shock the Zanu PF led government still found time to divert national resources towards remaining roads when citizens went without fuel, power, jobs, among other necessities key to a comfortable life.
“It is a shock and a shame to find a whole President, and his Cabinet sitting down to rename roads and buildings around the country ahead of these urgent needs,” Zapu said.
“This recent move is a litmus test for the patience of citizens. For how long will the citizens bottle up their frustrations at this remorseless leadership?”
Some of the roads that were renamed after Mnangagwa are Enterprise Road (Harare), 6th Avenue (Bulawayo), A5 Road (KweKwe), Chinhoyi-Chegutu Road (Mashonaland West province), Main Street (Gweru), Etherton Road (Bindura), Edgar Peacock Road (Chegutu), Hughes Street (Masvingo) and Main Street (Chipinge).