Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Nyarota denies covering up Gukurahundi, accuses Nehanda Radio of being used by Jonathan Moyo

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |

Former journalist Geoffrey Nyarota has reacted angrily to any article that covered a recent interview in which he appeared to downplay the Gukurahundi Massacres in the 1980’s and accused Nehanda Radio of being used by former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo.

Founding editor of the Daily News, Geoffrey Nyarota
Founding editor of the Daily News, Geoffrey Nyarota

Two days ago, Nehanda Radio published an article about Nyarota’s recent sentiments when he downplayed the Gukurahundi Massacres and chose instead to magnify the killings that occurred during the Second Chimurenga.

The story was extracted from his conversation with NewsDay publisher Trevor Ncube when he sensationally insinuated that the war of liberation was bigger than the Gukurahundi.

Nyarota was one of the editors of the state run Chronicle newspaper and is accused by critics of writing propaganda and dismissing stories by private and foreign journalists about the Gukurahundi killings that happened between 1983 and 1987. 

During the period the Fifth Brigade brutally crushed any resistance in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces killing an estimated 20,000 innocent civilians.

“Mind you, we had another war before Gukurahundi, thousands of people were killed during the war of liberation. I don’t hear anybody say anything about it but I can assure you that if you go down to my village they will tell you in 1977 Sekuru Mwanandinaye and his wife and their granddaughter were thrown into their house and it was set alight. They died there,” Nyarota said in the interview with Ncube.

On Friday, Nyarota responded dismissing the article as false claiming Nehanda Radio was being used by Professor Moyo.

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“The perpetrator of Gukurahundi was our late dictator, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who was commander-in-chief of Five Brigade. His state security minister was Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, who is now President, while his defence minister was Sidney Sekeramayi.

“If Jonathan Moyo, working in cahoots with Nehanda Radio to prop up certain politicians, are both aggrieved and anxious to hold people to account for Gukurahundi, it is these then powerful men, dead or alive, along with premier instigator, Enos Muzombi Nkala, MHSRIP, that they must pursue relentlessly,” Nyarota said in a statement.

Nehanda Radio claims that as Editor of The Chronicle I had a columnist, one Muchandida Madoda, “who was excited by the fact that Fife Brigade was massacring people”.

“Again those who were old enough to comprehend these issues will testify to the fact that Muchandida Madoda was a columnist, not on The Chronicle, of which I was the editor, as alleged by Nehanda Radio, but on The Sunday Times, of which the editor was our dear departed William “Bill” Saidi, MHSRIEP.

But Nyarota who is arguably known for exposing the Willowgate Scandal in 1987, appears to be very bitter with Professor Moyo and believes any criticism or report unfavourable to him is sponsored by the former minister.

In 2006, Nyarota published a book, “Against the Grain: Memories of a Zimbabwean Newsman”. Professor Moyo extensively criticised the book through a review that he titled: Nyarota’s fatal errors Against The Grain.

“Your book is replete with numerous cases of what comes across as deliberately distorted and misrepresented facts out of unmitigated malice. In the same vein, and maybe for the same reasons, the book has a lot of tribal nonsense. In general, your book is amazingly badly written in terms of its syntax and style,” read party of the review by Professor Moyo

“I get the impression that you somehow foolishly think that you can twist my very clear statement on April 11, 2002, to water down and justify the persistent accusations you are facing about your role in supporting, covering up or not reporting the Gukurahundi atrocities in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces when you edited the Chronicle in the 80s and 90s.

“I hope I am wrong about this and I stand corrected if I am. But if I am not, then there is indeed something very sad about you Geoff Nyarota. Mugabe’s Zanu PF government did not deploy a regular unit of the army in the two provinces in question but it deployed a special killer unit, the Fifth Brigade, which was specifically set-up and trained to massacre people as part of a political campaign against Zapu and its supporters in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces.

“Geoff I have seen the nonsense you keep writing to try and white-wash your duplicitous role. But the fact is that your worst sin is not so much about what you wrote in some of the editorials in support of the killer Fifth Brigade that some concerned people have cited, but about what you did not write Geoff, about the human tragedy that happened under your nose and pen in real time.

“You were part of the cover-up and falsification of the tragedy even though you most definitely knew that innocent citizens were being butchered right under your nose or your pen on a daily basis for a long period. How could a long standing human rights activist and champion of democracy and freedom of the press let that happen?” Moyo added. Nehanda Radio