THE opposition Zapu party has sensationally claimed that the fatal explosion that occurred during a Zanu PF campaign rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo on Saturday was stage-managed to portray residents of Matabeleland as violent.
The attack, which left two dead and 47 party members and State security officials injured, took place shortly after President Emmerson Mnangagwa had concluded his speech.
Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s wife Marry, Zanu PF national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri and party national commissar Engelbert Rugeje were among the injured.
Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa, in a statement yesterday, claimed Zanu PF activists were behind the attack.
“On August 11, 2017, the then Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was airlifted from Pelandaba Stadium in Gwanda after allegedly consuming ice-cream laced with poison at a public meeting. Poisoning of foodstuffs or feeding facilities is an act of terrorism. According to Zanu PF, this was an in-house job and no finger was pointed outside the beleaguered party,” he said.
“Fast-forward to June 23, 2018, an explosion rocks White City Stadium, where Zanu PF was holding yet another public meeting … Again, this is an act of terrorism, where explosives are used in a civilian set-up.”
Maphosa said all these terrorist activities happen in Matabeleland.
“We believe this is another of the party’s pretexts to portray the people of this region as violent and rebellious to the November 2017 junta that wields political power today. This is similar to what Zanu PF did in the early 1980s, when [then Prime Minister] Robert Mugabe’s regime unleashed the notorious North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland and parts of Midlands,” he said.
“They planted weapons in Zapu properties, but only in those situated in Matabeleland. This is despite the fact that Zapu had properties beyond the region, with some in Harare. Six tourists disappeared in Matabeleland in the early 1980s. This, Zapu believes, was a meticulously planned operation by State security agents under the State Security ministry headed then by Emmerson Mnangagwa.”
Maphosa said this was done so that Zanu PF justifies the deployment of the Fifth Brigade.
“All initial hostile public pronouncements that triggered mass killings during Gukurahundi were made in Matabeleland, with Mugabe at St Columbus in Bulawayo, Enos Nkala at White City and Mnangagwa on numerous occasions in Lupane and Nkayi.”
Maphosa said when Zanu PF first imploded within the past 20 years, the party chose Matabeleland to display the rebellion by its leadership.
“They chose Dinyane Secondary School in one of Zimbabwe’s poorest districts. Zanu PF has never considered this area in terms of development, but only for acts of rebellion in this particular instance. Mnangagwa, until the last minute, was architect, intended beneficiary and was at the forefront of the Dinyane debacle,” he said.
“We also remember the mysterious death of former ZPRA cadre and Zanu PF member Cain Nkala just outside Bulawayo. This was an inside job in Zanu PF. Killing a human being using shoe strings is an act of terrorism, which can only be done by highly-trained people. This was in Matabeleland once again.”
The Zapu spokesperson said the Nkala incident was part of a broad covet plan to portray the region as unsafe socially, politically and economically.
He said the biggest casualty was the economic prospects of the region, with all downstream and related sectors being equally affected.
“The terrorism acts also pose a huge danger to those who attend Zanu PF rallies. Inasmuch as Zapu will not infringe on their right to attend such meetings, we urge them to keep a safe distance from the high table, if not from the meetings altogether. There is no rally worth dying for. These acts of terror by Zanu PF are meant to either intimidate, scare away or predetermine the ballot.”
He urged Zapu supporters to be brave and resolute, to come out in numbers on election day and vote out the “junta”.
“Zapu condemns the White City terrorism act. We condemn every act of terrorism by rogue Zanu PF elements, in the past, current or conceivably in the future. The mother party calls on Zanu PF to manage its internal disputes and avoid endangering the lives of civilians as they fight for power within its fragmented party and coupist soldiers,” he said.
Contacted for comment, Zanu PF national spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said Mnangagwa was clear on Saturday when he said the blame could not be laid on the people of Bulawayo or Matabeleland for the blast.
“The President spoke out clearly that this cannot be blamed on Matabeleland and what else can I say, when the President has said it all,” he said.
Meanwhile, the police have appealed for information to aid the ongoing investigations on the blast.
The security agents said a reward would be offered to anyone who would provide leads.