PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe had a plan to establish a “Zezuru only” crack army unit to deal with the Gukurahundi insurrection of the early to mid-80s, blamed for the deaths of over 20 000 civilians under the guise of hunting down a handful of dissidents, former Vice-President Joice Mujuru has said.
Source: Mugabe’s ‘Zezuru Gukurahundi crack unit’ exposed – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 13, 2017
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Mujuru, now leading the opposition National People’s Party (NPP), told a meeting with Diaspora business women, during her tour in London to celebrate International Women’s Day that while she was a Cabinet minister during the Gukurahundi era, Mugabe’s plans were even concealed to the military’s top brass – including her late husband Solomon Mujuru – who was head of the army.
The former Zanu PF number two and now opposition leader said Mugabe had sown seeds of division during the struggle, when he discouraged unity between liberation war armies, Zipra and Zanla, under the banner of Zipa.
Mujuru argued that had the Zipa plan worked, then the post-war genocide would have been avoided.
“He (Mugabe) had his own ideas, because when he came (to the war front) he found soldiers having already agreed to work together as Zipa. This brought together Zanla and Zipra, if Mugabe had allowed that argument to work, we would not have had Gukurahundi because that arrangement had already started uniting the two armies,”she said.
Mujuru revealed that NPP’s head of security, retired army colonel Beta Guveya was approached by Mugabe to recruit a “Zezuru-only brigade from Zvimba” to create what became known as the 5 Brigade trained by North Koreans and responsible for the atrocities. Zvimba is Mugabe’s rural home and Guveya was a military trainer in the early years of independence.
“This friction he had created, I did not know its magnitude, I only knew just recently, this year or end of last year when Beta told me that he had been approached by Mugabe just after independence and instructed to recruit soldiers from Zvimba, so that he could turn them into the lethal force. He then reported this to my late husband (Solomon),” she said.
According to Mujuru, Guveya then refused to be part of the sinister plot, leaving Mugabe to use “his own ways”.
“The instructions for this unit of the army were not coming from the normal channels of the army, but directly from Mugabe, it was his own thing,” she said.
She said as Women’s Affairs minister at that time she was totally in the dark and did not know that soldiers were in the countryside killing, raping and maiming innocent people.
Mujuru said she has found it hard to read a report by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace on the atrocities titled Breaking the Silence that Mugabe has forced to remain unpublished.
“You will not be able to sleep if you read the horrific tales,” Mujuru said.
Mugabe came short of apologising publicly for the genocide, describing the killings as a “moment of madness”.