Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s interview that appeared in the Sunday Mail of February 15 is a very provocative and insensitive piece of untruths as far as the Gukurahundi and 5 Brigade genocide is concerned.
He said: “Civil disturbances that rocked Zimbabwe in the early years of independence were part of a regionwide conspiracy to destabilise Southern Africa and not part of an anti-Ndebele agenda by Shonas”. What trash and an untruth!
Where does he get this anti-Ndebele by the Shonas thing? Is he telling us something that we do not know? Where does he get this notion that the two are in a war? It was a war inflicted on Zapu by Zanu PF, oh God!
Where and in which planet was this gentleman during that moment of madness? From this interview it is clear that he must have been one of the architects of what transpired.
The number of victims and witnesses to the genocide is overwhelming, without any doubt, who was responsible for this massacre. Why deny the facts that have been known for decades now? Shame on him.
Firstly, there was no civil disturbance in the sense of the word civil. There were concerted efforts to eliminate leaders and members of Zapu.
The 5 Brigade and Gukurahundi genocide was formed specifically for this purpose and true to its doctrine it was formed outside the structure and command of the Zimbabwe National Army and only answerable to the Zanu PF hierarchy.
Late Joshua Nkomo, Zapu president, wrote that when he questioned president Robert Mugabe about the formation of the 5 Brigade, Gukurahundi outside the National Army without consultation, Mugabe angrily replied and said: “Who are you to be consulted? This brigade has been formed to crush those who try to subvert my government, if you attempt that, they will crush you.”
Zapu was at the time and remains the only mother of all nationalist movements in Zimbabwe that could and would rescue the country from a one party state. Therefore, Zapu had to be destroyed to facilitate the formation of such a State.
Secondly: Two weeks before the 1980 elections in March Lord Soames, governor of Southern Rhodesia, called all leaders of parties that were contesting in the elections and told them “because of the security situation in the eastern districts of Zimbabwe there could not be a free and fair election there.” This meant that elections would not be held there.
Three days or so before the elections Lord Soames unilaterally announced that the elections would take place in all districts in the country including the eastern districts.
It is near impossible that with all the good will in the world the good governor would have made the security situation in the eastern districts so stable in less than two weeks for a free and fair election to take place.
The Zapu leadership argued, rightly so, that the unstable security situation in the eastern districts was caused by Zanu PF, under the leadership of Mugabe, which maintained armed Zanla combatants throughout that area, these combatants terrorised people by beatings, torturing and even killing anyone who did not agree with their indoctrination.
They made it impossible for other political parties to campaign or operate in those areas. Before Zanu PF unleashed that reign of terror, Zapu and its leadership enjoyed unparalleled acceptance in those districts.
During that period two Zapu candidates and 18 party workers were killed, while several other party members were severely beaten up and others were permanently maimed. Unfortunately some disappeared without trace to this day.
In 1982 two Nitram farms, Ascot and Woody were invaded during the night by police and arms caches were found. Nitram was a private company formed by Zipra veterans who each contributed $50 to purchase properties which were to be used by veterans not attested into the National Army, Zimbabwe Republic Police or other State institutions for their sustenance. It must be remembered that the so-called arms caches were discovered only in these two farms.
All properties owned by Nitram, including the Nest Egg where Zapu archives were kept, Zapu properties and businesses such as the Lido Motel, Salisbury Motel, the Snake Park in Harare, Nijo Products, a composite agricultural project along Domboshawa Road, properties owned by Zapu and other members were expropriated.
These were expropriated without compensation rendering the Zipra veterans and Zapu members who owned businesses destitute. These were in thousands.
The period between January 1982 and December 1987 was the darkest in the history of this country given the number of Zimbabweans who were killed, maimed, left destitute or orphaned.
The (Ian) Smith regime laws were and are still being used to persecute liberation struggle heroes specifically Zapu members and Zipra veterans.
Five Brigade, youth brigade militia were all involved in this diabolical crusade to crush Zapu.
In 1983 the Roman Catholic bishops issued a pastoral statement and letter detailing the brutality and atrocities that were being perpetrated by State agents. By the way these bishops and other church organisations did support/sympathise with the ideals of the struggle for liberation.
In response to this pastoral letter then Information ministry, now deceased Nathan Shamuyarira dismissed the Catholic bishops’ statement as “irresponsible, contrived propaganda”.
May his soul rest in eternal peace, I am sure he has now met his judge, the Almighty.
Dumiso Dabengwa, Lookout Masuku and others were arrested on frivolous treason charges.
Some Zipra members were demobilised or consigned to the Attorney-General’s pool.
State versus Dabengwa and others (CIO Fraser and DSO Kaurayi). These are men who tortured liberation heroes during the struggle who were now being used by a government supposedly of the people by the people for the people. They used threats and bribes to extract information.
Joshua Nkomo, late Josia Chinamano, late Joseph Msika, late JG Ntuta were dismissed from Cabinet.
Clement Muchachi resigned from Cabinet in sympathy with his dismissed colleagues.
Other Zapu leaders and members were thrown into detention without detention orders and without trial, or killed while others disappeared without trace to this day.
During the armed struggle, in the main, people did not disappear without trace.
Dabengwa and Masuku were found not guilty and were released by the High Court.
Dabengwa and Masuku were immediately arrested and detained after the High Court found them not guilty. Again the Rhodesian laws are used, by a black government, to detain those that fought the same laws and who were supposedly now free.
Lookout Masuku became sick in detention and eventually passes on. What a shame!
Father Zimbabwe fled the country for dear life. Nkomo returned to Zimbabwe and a one-sided so-called Unity Accord is signed. This was an agreement to stop the carnage of Zapu members which had reached genocidal proportions.
In December 2008 Zapu reconsidered its position in the unity accord in the face of fundamental breaches of that accord by Zanu PF and at a convention resolved to withdraw therefrom and resuscitate itself as a political party.
From the foregoing it is evident that there was no external agenda as claimed. In all this there is no iota of evidence that this was an agenda by the West to destabilise Southern Africa. How does Mphoko, in his normal self, even start to imagine such a concoction?
The evidence that this was a planned elimination mission to get rid of Zapu as a political party that would ensure the total political and economic independence of our country is overwhelming and documented.
Zapu did not support the creation of a one party state dictatorship which is in violation of the founding principles of the liberation struggle, hence the major departure with Zanu PF.
Why has Zanu PF consistently refused to appoint an independent truth and reconciliation commission to find out what actually happened, reconcile the nation and move on with the development of our country?
Why is it so scary to establish such a commission? All this unnecessary bickering will be put to rest with the appointment of such a commission. Only the guilty are afraid. But remember the saying that it’s not the truth that sets you free but knowing the truth.
A Zapu member provocative, insensitive, naïve a. Our departed heroes like National chairman Samuel Munodawafa, Sydney Malunga, Lazarus Nkala, Amon Jirira, Tichafa Parirenyathwa, Ariston Chambati, Daniel Madzimbamhuto, George Silundika, Nikita Mangena, Willie Musarurwa, Josia Chinamano, Philimon Makonese, Clement Muchachi and others, too numerous to mention, must be turning in their graves.
Zapu founded in 1961, the mother of all nationalist movements in Zimbabwe, is ready to accomplish the unfinished business of achieving the founding principles of our struggle.
Jacob JD Dube, treasurer general, finance and resource mobilisation secretary, Zimbabwe African Peoples Union