By Blessings Mashaya
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s claim that the ruling party is “fumigating” elements bent on weakening it ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections has angered some people who claim that the statement reminds them of the Gukurahundi killings of innocent civilians in the early 1980s.
This comes as Mnangagwa’s name has been mentioned regularly in association with the massacres. But in a recent interview with a British newspaper, the VP vehemently denied the accusations saying at the time of the killings there was a commander in chief of the army and so he could not have issued orders as a mere minister.
Speaking at the burial of the late Zanu PF Midlands deputy provincial chairperson, Kizito Chivamba, over the weekend, Mnangagwa said Zanu PF was currently in the process of dealing with all people who are causing problems in the party.
“Chivamba has gone at a time when the party is internally fumigating itself from elements bent on weakening and destabilising it ahead of the 2018 elections.
“It is in this spirit that I call upon all those he has left behind to remain united as we gear ourselves towards victory in the 2018 elections,” Mnangagwa said.
“Chivamba was like Job of the Bible. He was accused of a lot of things when he was in the party, which led to his suspension. However, the truth later prevailed and he was cleared. This is because the truth is like light — it prevails over darkness,” he added.
The comments have since drawn the ire of the opposition, human rights groups as well as some of his colleagues in the ruling party.
“While it does not concern us how Zanu PF deals with its internal issues, however, as the ruling party, we can only assume that the way it deals with such issues reflects the manner it solves national issues so for me it doesn’t surprise me,” former National Healing minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, said.
“It’s the kind of statement that we condemn. When you talk of fumigating you are talking about killing,” he said.
Mzila-Ndlovu said Zimbabweans must also take the blame “for taking this nonsense quietly and failing to act”.
“We have seen the destruction of property. He (Mnangagwa) has never known any consequence for his behaviour. He knows that he can be arrogant without any consequence at the end.
“The role of government is to protect people, but they are doing the opposite. I find it unforgivable if Zanu PF wants to live with that, it shows that they are acting like zombies,” he said.
Mnangagwa has denied the allegations that he stoked tensions during the Gukurahundi era, after he was said to have uttered words to the effect that dissidents were cockroaches that required the use of DDT.
Still, ZimRights director Okay Machisa said Mnangagwa must apologise for using that language.
“If you talk about fumigating you are talking of killing. It’s not good language. There are so many words that fit into what he wants to do . . . fumigating . . . you are killing in large numbers,” Machisa said.
“It reminds people of Gukurahundi. As Zimbabweans, we need to refrain from using such language. Whether it’s Zanu PF or opposition parties, there is need to deal with differences peacefully. I call upon the vice president to use language that promotes unity among people of Zimbabwe,” he added.
Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo also joined the bandwagon, firing brickbats at Mnangagwa on social media for using the controversial word.
“Zanu PF fumigating itself. Use of the word ‘fumigating’ is as most unfortunate as it is revealing!” Moyo tweeted.
“Fumigation is a method of pest control that completely fills an area with gaseous pesticides — or fumigants — to suffocate the pest with the poison within,” he added. Daily News