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‘Those who speak more about Gukurahundi saw nothing,’ says Obert Mpofu

The Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu claims those vocal about the Gukurahundi Massacres were staying in urban areas during the time and have little appreciation of what happened during the genocide in which an estimated 20 000 civilians were killed by the military.

Obert Mpofu
Obert Mpofu

Mpofu made the claims during the launch of his book, titled, “On the Shoulders of the Struggle Memoirs of a Political Insider” at a Harare Cresta Lodge, attended by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who was guest of honour, current and ex-ministers of Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Sithembiso Nyoni, Patrick Chinamasa, Josiah Hungwe and Tshinga Dube.

“Where people have decided to be the spokespersons of that sad development…you see my constituency (Umguza, Matabeleland North) is one that was affected by those disturbances.

“I know the people who have been affected, I live with them, but we have people in towns, people in Harare, and people in Bulawayo who have never been to a rural area trying to convince me that they know Gukurahundi better than I do.

“Please learn if you are ignorant and if you look at all those constituencies in Matabeleland that support Zanu PF, strongly support Zanu PF, are constituencies that were affected by the disturbances.

“Not that they supported the dissidents, but because the old man (former Vice President) Joshua Nkomo and the old man (ex-President Robert) Mugabe sat down and addressed the issue.”

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Mpofu accused critics of reading the Unity Accord, “the preamble talks about peace, unity and progress, sometimes you just wonder what is going on.”

He added; “Just because they want to please the external detractors, no, let’s not do that, let’s not continue dividing our people.

“You see we are one. That’s what ubaba uNkomo used to say tiri vana vevhu, children of the soil.

“You hear on twitter people saying lo umuNdebele wathengisa. Ngathengisani? (this Ndebele sold out. How did I sell out?)

“The people telling me that I sold out are just living in poverty. Yes, there are critical issues but let’s not spend time on issues that seek to divide us,” Mpofu said.

Between 1983 and 1987 the Fifth Brigade brutally crushed any resistance in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces and many atrocities were committed. An estimated 20,000 civilians died and were buried in mass graves and to this day the issue has not been addressed.

The intensity of their actions during the mid-1980s is associated with a specific Shona word: Gukurahundi. This is most simply translated as “the rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa was state security minister at the time of the killings. Nehanda Radio