PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has opened the lid on the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s and the Murambatsvina urban cleanups of 2005, describing his role as “peripheral” while blaming his predecessor the late former president Robert Mugabe for doing all that in the quest for a one-party state.
This is contained in Mnangagwa’s biography, “A Life of Sacrifice”, which was launched last week. Mnangagwa, who served as minister in charge of State Security at Independence in 1980 until 1988, launched at State House the 154-paged biography, which he described as a “brief window” into his life.
The biography was authored by Eddie Cross, a former opposition MDC senior official and MP. It was edited by businesswoman and musician Rachel Jambaya, who is also known as Rachel J.
According to Mnangagwa, in mid-1983 the Gukurahundi campaign was launched, controlled and executed by 5 Brigade and the police.
In the following four years, he says it was estimated that 700 to 800 people had been murdered by dissident operators in rural regions.
“While the origins of the campaign and its execution was fully controlled by state actors in Zimbabwe Government and armed forces, Emmerson (Mnangagwa) claims that his role was peripheral and concerned mainly with the threats to national security emanating from the South African Government and the Zapu dissidents,” the book says.
“Was Emmerson Mnangagwa responsible for Gukurahundi? He was in many ways an ideal choice for Zimbabwe’s first minister responsible for State Security. He had impeccable liberation credentials he was a clever and well educated man with a legal background, married to a relative of the Commander of the Zanla forces, Josiah Tongogara who had died just before Independence in a road accident in Mozambique and a fellow Karanga.
“Clearly, Emmerson as a member of Cabinet and holding down a job that included intelligence and chairmanship of the Joint Operation Command, was part of the decision to launch the Gukurahundi campaign and would have played a significant role in its management over four years.
“Emmerson saw the campaign as part of the defence programme against South African destabilisation and events in both Mozambique and Angola as well as the discovery of arms caches in key areas in the south west and east supplied by South African elements would have heightened his concerns.
“But in the end, there is little doubt that the savage nature of the campaign against Zapu and the tribal groups in the south west was due to direct Mugabe instructions to the 5th Brigade and to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Police on the ground.”
Mugabe’s motivation, the book further says, was not only the destruction of dissident elements, but to eliminate political opposition to establish a one-party state under his total control.
“This tactic would be employed by Mr. Mugabe several times during his rule of the country up to his resignation in November 2017. The motivation behind the campaign Murambatsvina in 2005 and the campaign to take land away from white commercial farmers from 200 to 2009 was mainly motivated by the desire to maintain total control of the state under pressure from democratic forces,” the book reads.
Speaking at Nkomo’s memorial which was held a year after his death, Mugabe described the atrocities as a “moment of madness.”
However, in his latest ever interview after the coup and before his death, Mugabe blamed Mnangagwa for the massacres.
In his last interview just before the 2018 elections, Mugabe told journalists at his Blue Roof home in Harare that Mnangagwa is largely to blame for Gukurahundi.
Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba has defended Mnangagwa’s point that he was not responsible for the execution of Gukurahundi.
“Simply challenging ED’s obvious point that he can’t be held accountable for decisions in a system in,” Charamba wrote on Twitter, early this Saturday.
“… while authority can and may be delegated, responsibility never gets inherited by then juniors from their dead bosses. It is that basic!” Charamba fumed on his Twitter handle.
- Source: NewsHawks
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