Gukurahundi: VP faces demos

Phelekezela Mphoko

THE MDC-T Bulawayo province yesterday demanded that Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko should apologise to the people of Matabeleland and the Midlands over his remarks that Gukurahundi was a conspiracy of the West that President Robert Mugabe knew nothing about it.


The party’s provincial leadership said Mphoko must make a public apology to the people or brace himself for demonstrations against him organised by the MDC-T and civic groups in cities to publicly denounce his “careless remarks”.

MDC-T Bulawayo deputy provincial spokesperson Felix Magalela Mafa Sibanda said it was disheartening to hear what Mphoko said and he had inadvertently reopened the victims’ wounds.

“We had hoped that Mphoko would lead by example as National Healing and Reconciliation minister, alas he has opened people’s wounds,” he said.

“We now feel that what Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa said about him, that he deserted the liberation struggle while in Mozambique, is true.

“We appeal to him to apologise or be ready to face a mass demonstration against his reckless remarks.”

Sibanda said Mphoko lived in denial and should “shut up” about sensitive things.

“Mphoko lives in denial as he does not understand that 20 000 people died in Matabeleland due to Gukurahundi,” he said.

“As a senior citizen, I think he should zip up his mouth and stop insulting our dead and living victims.

“After all he has been living a precarious and suspicious life since the time of the liberation struggle.

“I know him as Report during the war, but he never came to fight here.”

victims of Gukurahundi
victims of Gukurahundi

Sibanda said Mphoko’s statements contradicted those of Mugabe, who once said Gukurahundi was a “moment of madness”.

The MDC led by Welshman Ncube’s Matabeleland South chairman, Pilate Ndebele said Mphoko’s remarks showed that he was involved in the killing of his own people since it had been said that he was a Central Intelligence Organisation officer.

“He claims that whites were behind the massacres, were they the ones who sent people to train in North Korea?

“There are many victims lying in the bush in Lupane, Tsholotsho, Plumtree, Kezi and many other areas and when a leader says such rubbish, he tries to hide that he was involved, not knowing by so doing he is exposing himself.

“People in Matabeleland are angry because they did not expect someone who comes from this region to say such statements.”

More than 20 000 people were killed during the Gukurahundi era in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the early 1980s and the government has continuously refused to accept responsibility.

Instead those who try to conduct memorial services for the victims have repeatedly been blocked on the pretext they were going to cause disharmony and disorder in the country.

Mphoko, a week ago, stirred the hornet’s nest when he said Gukurahundi was part of a region-wide conspiracy to destablise Southern Africa, while distancing Mugabe from the atrocities.


  1. I think Mphoko believes that if one is appointed by a friend then the appointee is intelligent. He however confirmed one aspect of Gukurahundi which is that is was a strategic operation of Mugabe, the South African apartheid regime and the western leaders against Zapu and the ANC. One of their ever publicized meetings was held in Maputo on the eve of the 1980 general elections results announcement. Lord Soames of the British, Robert Mugabe of Zanupf and Apartheid leaders held a meeting whose details have never been known but according to Mphoko’s analysis there is evidence that it was one of the many clandestine consultations of Zanupf, the apartheid regime and the British.

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