The family of a senior Zapu official and late deputy minister, Jini Ntutha, who was killed in 1984 at the height of the Gukurahundi massacres, is still seeking answers to what really happened to their relative, as government has been evasive about the issue.
Source: Late deputy minister’s family seeks closure – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2016
BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA
Ntutha, who was Mines deputy minister, was reportedly killed at his farm by unidentified people trailing his car.
Former Bulawayo councillor and family member, Michael Batandi Mpofu told a meeting organised by Ibhetshu Likazulu to remember Ntutha and that the family was still bitter about his callous murder.
“We are very angry because we haven’t found answers as to why he was killed? We also don’t
believe that whatever is happening in this country around the treatment of this region and its people gives us any hope that there is reconciliation,” he said.
“We just hear about reconciliation, but haven’t seen any efforts to achieve it. We don’t believe there are any serious efforts towards reconciliation when the person, who is supposed to push for it is going around giving us chicks.”
Mpofu was taking a dig at Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, who is responsible for the national healing and reconciliation portfolio and has been going around Bulawayo donating chicks every weekend for about three months now.
The former councillor said after Ntutha’s death, the family has been struggling.
“We tried all our best to hold it together. Ntutha died a disappointed man. It was a painful death. He died after being chased on foot for a long distance. As old as he was, he was chased by well-trained youngsters, who killed him,” he said.
“It has been difficult to cope and even to accept (his death). Answers are needed. We need to understand how a minister could be killed that way in an independent country. We still regard the Unity Day holiday on December 22 every year as a day of mourning our people, whose souls are still roaming the bushes.”
According to government sources, Ntutha, 60-years-old at the time, was killed by three anti-government dissidents, who chased him on foot for four kilometres before shooting him with automatic rifles.
However a New York Times report said diplomats in Harare expressed reservations on the official explanation, adding that Ntutha had earlier charged that army troops, posed as dissidents and then killed civilians.
The then Zapu secretary-general, Cephas Msipa, reportedly suggested that the government’s account of Ntutha’s killing was incongruous and called for a thorough investigation of all murders attributed to dissidents.