UNITED STATES-BASED opposition ZimFirst leader, Maxwell Zeb Shumba, yesterday said the recent expulsion of former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa from both government and the ruling Zanu PF party had given Gukurahundi victims and the international community an opportunity to drag the beleaguered ex-VP to the dock and ask him to explain his role in the atrocities.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
The State-sanctioned Gukurahundi massacres claimed over 20 000 lives in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces as then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe launched a crackdown on perceived PF-Zapu dissidents in the early 1980s.
Mnangagwa, who then was State Security minister, has denied involvement in the massacres, which Mugabe has described as “a moment of madness”.
“The sacking of ED (Mnangagwa) is to the ordinary Zimbabwean a signal to kick-start an intense process of accountability for the excesses of the ruling elite. Skeletons must be unearthed in the interest of accountability and nation building,” Shumba said.
He added: “Before he runs away to hide in whatever hole he may find, ED and his allies must account for the Gukurahundi atrocities.”
But another opposition leader Phillemon Machana of the Zimbabwe Transitional Alliance (ZiTA) seemed to suggest “forgiveness’ and acceptance for those who have fallen foul of Mugabe.
“The latest firing of VP Mnangagwa from government is clearly informed by nothing else except power entrenchment and creation of a Mugabe dynasty,” Machana said.
He said, while the internal discord in Zanu PF was a matter of a private club “ZiTA is, however, worried at the dictatorial tendencies that have in recent years been exhibited by the person of Mugabe in purging anything and anyone who sees things differently from him”.
“We do not hold any brief for the former VP, (but) we urge Zimbabweans to check mate this regime and collectively make sure Zanu PF is dumped come 2018. It is a chance for Zimbabweans to find each other and unite to create a formidable challenge to remove Mugabe’s tyranny.”
Machana said it was important that opposition parties and Zimbabweans opposed to Mugabe’s rule coalesce behind MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s candidature ahead of elections next year.
“Whatever issues we may have can be dealt with after Mugabe is gone and when our great nation has stabilised. The time is now, let us all unite and for now ignore intra and interparty differences. Every party including the sacked VP and war veterans must join into one big coalition to deal with this bedroom circus which is now affecting all of us. Zimbabwe is too great to be held hostage by a tired and aged individual,” he said.