What is Mphoko smoking?
By Lance Guma
Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko is fast becoming the humpty-dumpty of Zimbabwean politics with a collection of blundering remarks that have called into question President Robert Mugabe’s judgment in appointing him.
A few days ago the VP toured the defunct Feruka Oil Refinery and claimed rather bizarrely that; “there was a white man who used to work here who stole a small valve that is missing for the refinery to work.”
What makes the whole episode even funnier is that Manicaland minister of State for Provincial Affairs Mandi Chimene demanded that PetroZim, look into the VP’s absurd claims. A bit of sanity was sprinkled to the whole circus with Cathrine Katsande, a PetroZim official saying a new refinery must be built instead.
One is immediately reminded of Rotina Mavhunga (Nomatter Tagarira), the little known spirit medium who conned Mugabe’s cabinet into believing she could produce pure diesel from the Maningwa Hills in the bush in Chinhoyi.
Mugabe chaired cabinet meetings in which claims by the Grade 3 educated Mavhunga were discussed at length. A high-powered government delegation packed with cabinet ministers was sent to investigate the claims.
Mugabe’s regime fell for her con and met her demands for 2 head of cattle, 3 buffaloes and Z$5 billion. After three years on the run Mavhunga was eventually arrested and jailed by Chinhoyi provincial magistrate Ignatius Mugova.
Anyway, back to Mphoko
In May this year he repeated his widely criticised claim that President Mugabe was not behind the Gukurahundi Massacres in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the early 1980s, saying it was a Western conspiracy.
An estimated 20 000 innocent civilians were killed by Mugabe’s 5th Brigade army unit. Pregnant women were bayoneted and thrown into open graves whilst men and women were buried alive in a gruesome manner. The campaign was justified as a crack down on armed dissidents loyal to the opposition ZAPU.
But Mphoko who is responsible for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation, delivered a public lecture at the Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo, where he claimed Mugabe (Commander in Chief of the army) should not be blamed for the massacres because he “always preached peace and reconciliation.”
It is worth pointing out that even Mugabe himself admitted that the Gukurahundi Massacres were a moment of madness. But this is the story with Zimbabwean politicians, they want power but not the responsibilities that come with it. If you are president, everything that happens is and should be under your watch.
If Mphoko wants to be taken seriously he needs to take the people of Zimbabwe seriously. Telling them that an entire oil refinery is derelict because of a missing valve is taking the mickey. The same can be said of any attempt to rewrite history and exonerate Mugabe from any blame for the Gukurahundi Massacres.
The VP must stay away from the strong stuff………