via Mnangagwa must clarify Nkomo statements – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 6, 2015
Currying favour with President Robert Mugabe has been one of the best ways to rise in Zanu PF and Zimbabwean politics.
Mugabe’s ministers have made a profession of bootlicking and fawning each time they are in their leader’s presence.
The praises have ranged from labelling Mugabe as “God’s other son”, to “Gushungo has Cremora all over his body”.
It is in this vein that we think Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa sought to do his bit in praise-singing when he said Mugabe had won the 1980 elections because he served black interests, but the Vice-President may have gone overboard when he claimed the revered late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo represented white interests.
Mnangagwa told the New African magazine, in an interview reproduced by State media recently, that Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith confided in him and Mugabe that nationalist leaders such as Nkomo failed to win the 1980 elections because the black majority feared they could be manipulated by whites.
We found it worrisome that Mnangagwa, given his track record in the liberation struggle, would endorse such warped thinking just to curry favour with Mugabe.
His narrative simply contradicts the history of the liberation struggle and post-independence Zimbabwe.
As Mnangagwa may as well know, Nkomo was a founding father of the liberation struggle, earning the moniker, Father Zimbabwe, and it is disturbing that a high-ranking government official may today turn around and claim Nkomo served white minority interests.
While no one can begrudge Mugabe for the role he played in the liberation struggle, we feel Mnangagwa could have expressed his praise for his boss without necessarily disparaging Nkomo’s name.
It is no secret that Nkomo suffered more than most for Zimbabwe to attain its independence and to add onto that, he and his Zapu party were persecuted unjustly after 1980, during a dark period where Mnangagwa is said to have played a leading role.
Taken in the context of the Gukurahundi massacres, Mnangagwa’s statements are disturbing and we urge the Vice-President to immediately clarify his statements.
The people of Matabeleland, Midlands and the country as a whole may have forgiven Mnangagwa for his role in the disturbances of the 1980s, but they have not forgotten and his recent statements about Nkomo may only serve to open a festering wound that has refused to heal.
While Mnangagwa may have thought he was earning favour with Mugabe, his statements may have had the unintended purpose of stirring the hornet’s nest and may not help his chances of succeeding the veteran leader.
We share former Midlands governor Cephas Msipa’s outrage at Mnangagwa’s statements and we urge the Vice-President to clear the air, before the matter boils out of proportion and divides Zanu PF, government and, more importantly, the country.
If Mnangagwa is serious about leading the country in future, we urge him to remove his foot from his mouth and carefully choose his words, as these have the capacity to divide the country and undo the years of painstakingly building unity.