Former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s newly-launched Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) has responded to “efforts to resurrect her misunderstanding” with the late nationalist Joshua Nkomo over awarding Strive Masiyiwa a licence to launch telecommunications company Econet.
BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA
ZimPF information and publicity committee chairperson, Methuseli Moyo, told NewsDay that Mujuru had apologised to Nkomo and the nation at that time.
“The apology was accepted,” he said.
Moyo said it was hard to understand how “someone decided to resurrect that issue.”
“If they have the energy to resurrect insults against the Ndebele, then they must resurrect all the insults against the Ndebele, and (President Robert) Mugabe tops the log, followed by Grace (Mugabe),” he said.
In 1997, Mujuru, who was then the Information, Posts and Telecommunications minister, turned down an application by Masiyiwa for a licence to operate a cellular network company. Masiyiwa sought the assistance of Nkomo, the Vice-President then.
Mujuru defied Nkomo’s instructions to award Masiyiwa the licence, suggesting the Econet owner could have taken advantage of the Vice-President’s old age and diminishing mental faculties.
Nkomo died two years later aged 82.
“If people were really angry about insults against the Ndebele, the person they should be angry at is Mugabe, who said Nkomo was a cobra,” Moyo said.
“Mugabe has called the people of Matabeleland cobras, and recently he said the Kalanga are uneducated.”
Mugabe described Nkomo as a head of a snake that needed to be crushed in the heated days leading to the Gukurahundi carnage in Matabeleland.
In fear Nkomo fled to the United Kingdom.
Mugabe has never publicly apologised for the Gukurahundi killings, but at the burial of Nkomo in July 1999, he expressed regret, describing the five years between 1982 and 1987 as a “moment of madness”.
“They have certainly scored an own goal here. They thought they were attacking Mujuru when they were attacking Mugabe indirectly,” Moyo said.
The Nkomo family, two years ago, said they had forgiven Mujuru for describing the late nationalist as senile.
There had been suggestions that Mujuru’s slur would be her major handicap, particularly in Matabeleland were Nkomo is revered, triggering the strong response from her party.