By Nyashadzashe Ndoro and Keith Mlauzi | Nehanda Politics |
An opposition activist has expressed revulsion at President Emmerson Mnangagwa hosting executives of Highlanders Football Club without “any historic peace initiative, reconciliation or truth telling process” over the Gukurahundi Massacres he allegedly spearheaded in the 1980s.
This comes after Mnangagwa hosted the Bulawayo soccer giants at State House yesterday, promising to assist the club with their mining venture.
The Highlanders leadership was led by board chairman Luke Mnkandla, executive chairman Kenneth Mhlophe, the club’s treasurer Donald Ndebele and chief executive officer Nhlanhla Dube who presented a Number-9 jersey to the Zanu PF leader.
In an interview with Nehanda Radio, Bulawayo based Highlanders supporter and MDC Alliance youth secretary general Gift Ostallos Siziba said Mnangagwa did not make any efforts to make peace with people in Matabeleland after the Gukurahundi Massacres in the 1980s which resulted in the death of an estimated 20,000 people.
Mnangagwa was the country’s State Security minister when the massacres happened.
“I think that ED going to Bosso is criminal abuse of office because he, as a former Minister of State Security was at the center of attempts to annihilate and destroy Highlanders Football Club.
“I have conviction beyond doubt that the compatriots in Highlanders were forced because the Zanu PF led government uses intimidation and fear to coerce people to meetings and all these shenanigans with their leader.
“I’m convinced again that if the first assumption is not true, it is clear lack of leadership on part of Bosso because history is very clear and the role of Emmerson Mnangagwa in relation to the developments in Highlanders Football Club and to assume that there is convergence or understanding between ED as a perpetrator of violence and Bosso as a victim,” he said.
“We don’t know of any historic peace initiative, reconciliation or truth telling process around his role in the destruction of the same. So to assume that the leadership of Bosso is not aware of that past is very unfortunate and for us as the supporters of the winning team we must be able to act decisively and condemn such lack of leadership on the part of the executive in Bulawayo.”
Commenting on the issue, former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo said the Highlanders executive had ‘kissed death’.
“Truth be told, this ain’t news for Highlanders fans BUT a kiss of death of the “Executive” of @HighlanderBosso & their Gukurahundi Guest. Highlanders do not belong to its officials or even players; it’s a people’s team & belongs to the people as part of their culture & history!” Moyo said.
Senior journalist Mthulisi Mathuthu sensationally said: “In 1986, ED’s boys (CIO) approached Bosso demanding to see the team’s books. Reason: they claimed they had information that Bosso was using gate takings to fundraise for the dissidents. They claimed that for every game, there was one gate whose takings were given to dissidents.”
In January this year veteran broadcaster Ezra ‘Tshisa’ Sibanda slammed the Highlanders FC leadership for its failure to deal with the mounting financial woes saying it was embarrassing to see players and leaders of such a big team ‘kneeling, praying and begging Madzibaba for donations.’
Ezra took to Facebook to address the cash strapped football club saying its leadership should be looking into other avenues for income generation than being over excited about the mining claim they received from government.
He said, “Highlanders FC should never be too excited about the mining CLAIM given by the government believing it will solve all its financial problems. A claim is not a mine, you are not guaranteed to produce the mineral you want.
“Bosso should explore other avenues to solve the financial problems at club not going to VaPostori Churches and Individuals for donations.
“To see players and Bosso leadership kneeling, praying and begging to Madzibaba for donations in the bushes was so embarrassing for a club of Bosso’s stature. It was a PR disaster, we simply don’t have good leadership and change is need ASAP.”
In October last year Bosso players attended Madzibaba Mutumwa’s services seeking divine intervention.
Ezra went on to attack the club which is currently in talks with Chinese investors to help them with the gold mine operations. He said, “We can’t always rely on donors, this club has a big name but weak leadership.
“Highlanders shouldn’t face financial problems with such a huge name. We have players going for months without their salaries yet people in the offices are getting paid without problems. Why do we pay people to sit and do nothing but let players suffer.”
He also accused the club leadership of getting their positions through corrupt ways.
“We have unelected board members illegally running the club because of weak leadership which surrendered everything to them. Bosso has never experienced such chaos in its entire history and it’s a shame. Time for leadership renewal.” Nehanda Radio