By Robert Tapfumaneyi
CONTROVERSIAL Zanu PF top politician and ex-minister, Obert Mpofu has fired a broadside on those who are most vocal about the 1980s government atrocities in the western parts of the country, telling guests to his book’s launch Thursday the loudmouths were elements less affected by the disturbances.
The Zanu PF secretary for administration also made astonishing claims that those most affected by the atrocities in fact later became strong supporters of Zanu PF.
Mpofu launched his book, “On the Shoulders of The Struggle Memoirs of a Political Insider” at a Harare Cresta Lodge event in which he also denied accusations by his Ndebele tribesmen he sold out when he maintained loyalty to the Shona dominated Zanu PF at the height of tribal hostilities.
The event was attempted by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who was guest of honour, current and ex-ministers in Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Sithembiso Nyoni, Patrick Chinamasa, Josiah Hungwe and Tshinga Dube.
In his comments, the veteran politician and businessman said those vocal about the Gukurahundi disturbances in which an estimated 20 000 civilians were killed by the military were staying in urban areas during the time and have little or no knowledge of what really transpired on the ground.
“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.
“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 a rural area trying to convince me that they know Gukurahundi better than I do.
“Please learn if you are ignorant and if you look at all those constituencies in Matabeleland that support Zanu PF, strongly support Zanu PF, are constituencies that were affected by the disturbances.
“Not that they supported the dissidents but because the old man (former Vice President) Joshua Nkomo and the old man (ex-President Robert) Mugabe sat down and addressed the issue.”
Mpofu added, “The critics have not even read the Unity Accord, the preamble talks about peace, unity and progress, sometimes you just wonder what is going on.
“Just because they want to please the external detractors, no, let’s not do that, let’s not continue dividing our people.
“You see we are one. That’s what ubaba uNkomo used to say tiri vana vevhu, children of the soil,” he said.
Mpofu denied forsaking his Ndebele kinsmen.
“You hear on twitter people saying lo umuNdebele wathengisa. Ngathengisani? (this Ndebele sold out. How did I sell out?)
“The people telling me that I sold out are just living in poverty. Yes, there are critical issues but let’s not spend time on issues that seek to divide us.”
The former legislator said government should not be arm-twisted into making “reactionary, subjective apologies for Gukurahundi by forces pursuing a neo-colonial polarising agenda”.
The Zanu PF politician, who said he played a critical role in the signing of the Zanu, PF Zapu Unity Accord in 1987, told guests the treaty signified the end of hostilities between the two liberation movements.