Zimbabwe

Claim that Mugabe not behind 80s killings 'totally appalling': MDC

2015-05-15 18:05
President Robert Mugabe. (AFP)

President Robert Mugabe. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harare - A claim from Zimbabwe's vice president ahead of crucial by-elections next month that President Robert Mugabe had nothing to do with the Gukurahundi killings in the 1980s is "totally appalling", the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said on Friday.

"It is an unmitigated insult to the victims and the survivors of the Gukurahundi genocide for [Vice President Phelekezela] Mphoko to falsely and heartlessly claim that Gukurahundi was a conspiracy by the West," spokesperson Obert Gutu said in a statement.

Former education minister David Coltart said on Facebook that the comments from Mphoko on Thursday were "historical revisionism at its worst".

Rights groups say that up to 20 000 people were killed in the Gukurahundi campaign in the southern Matabeleland provinces in Zimbabwe's worst post-independence atrocity.

Gukurahundi means "the rains that sweep away the chaff".

Mugabe has previously called the killings - carried out mostly by members of the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade - a "moment of madness" in what is widely seen as a token attempt at an apology.

The memory of the killings and of those brutally murdered is a deep scar on the nation's psyche.

In comments carried by the official Herald and Chronicle newspapers on Friday, Mphoko insisted the killings were "a Western conspiracy bent on destabilising the newly independent Zimbabwean state".

Mugabe could not be to blamed for the killings "because he always preached peace and reconciliation", the Chronicle reported Mphoko as saying.

Voter intimidation

His words sparked immediate outrage.

"It is obvious that you are being used by your party to get support in Matabeleland and Midlands as a whole and I don't think Zanu [PF - the ruling party] will get majority votes in these provinces," political activist Sikhumbuzo Moyo wrote in an open letter published on www.bulawayo24.com.

Rights groups warn that tensions and voter intimidation are rising ahead of 17 parliamentary by-elections due on June 10, which Mugabe's party is determined to win.

A boycott announced by the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC at first made it seem Zanu-PF's victory was guaranteed in almost all of the seats. But more than 100 independent candidates - some of them previously linked to the MDC - have successfully filed papers to contest these polls.

Voting was already under way on Friday in a separate by-election in Wedza North constituency, in eastern Zimbabwe, the state ZBC broadcaster reported. 

Gutu said: "The MDC-T understands that Mphoko is singing for his supper."

Read more on:    mdc  |  zanu-pf  |  robert ­mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE:

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
52 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.