By Anna Chibamu
THE MDC has come out guns blazing describing Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu as an insensitive man who does not value the sanctity of human life.
Mpofu recently penned an article published by State media in which he argued that President Emmerson Mnangagwa should not be forced to apologise for the Gukurahundi atrocities.
Instead, Mpofu argued that Zanu PF must own the process if it is to be resuscitated but added the issue was water under the bridge following the Unity Accord between then eternal rivals former President Robert Mugabe and revered nationalist Joshua Nkomo in 1987.
But MDC secretary for national healing Blessing Chebundo said Mpofu has as much blood on his hands as Mnangagwa when it comes to Gukurahundi.
Mnangagwa was State Security Minister in the early 80s when Mugabe unleashed a crack military unit that killed 20 000 people under the guise of hunting down a handful dissidents.
“Obert Mpofu demonstrates lack of appreciation of sanctity of human life, as long as his personal political interests are safeguarded. He is an embarrassment to the communities of Matabeleland North, and their community leadership, whom he has claimed to represent all these years,” said Chebundo.
Mugabe refused to apologise and the closest he came to acknowledging the crimes was at Nkomo’s burial in 1999 when he described the atrocities as a “moment of madness.”
Now Mpofu argues Zimbabweans must “let bygones be bygones”.
On the contrary, Mnangagwa has allowed debate around the issue and consultations are currently underway to have those in shallow graves reburied.
Added Chebundo: “He (Mpofu) unreasonably advocates letting bygones be bygones, and avoids opening closed wounds which may be catastrophic to his party and to the illegitimate government. The souls, and bones of those murdered gruesomely, must be turning in their mass graves.
“The calls by Obert Mpofu are based on the fear to be exposed. We cannot allow the country to be held to ransom by personal interest. Let us put the interests of the dead and the tortured souls first.”
Mpofu, a former Zapu cadre, had defected to Mugabe’s Zanu before the Unity Accord that created Zanu PF.
Chebundo argued the ruling party’s administration secretary would be the wrong person to make such comments.
“The nation needs proper healing. There cannot be meaningful development without proper nation building and national healing programme. The country’s healing programme cannot be held to ransom by people who fear to be exposed on their roles in the past and present atrocities.
“There is need for a truth telling programme, transitional justice, need for proper closing of wounds to ensure lasting healing, including decent burials,” he added.
Chebundo argued that the trauma and wounds of human rights violations committed in pre and post-colonial Zimbabwe, chief among them, Gukurahundi, cannot be ignored.
“The dark period left a traumatised, politically fractured and sorrowful nation stricken with grief, depression, suspicion and pain with many people living in fear and these various inflicted wounds were either not closed or improperly closed.
“The best way to close old wounds is by confronting the past for a better future. This entails remembering and confronting the past terrors. We must remember what happened in order to keep it from not happening again,” the MDC official said.