Opposition Zapu has claimed that last week’s assassination attempt on President Emmerson Mnangagwa was calculated to destabilise the Matabeleland region like what happened in the early 1980s when government launched a crackdown against alleged dissidents in the region which left more than 20 000 civilians dead.
This comes as security agencies have opened a full scale probe into last weekend’s blast at White City Stadium, have not yet disclosed who was behind the dastardly act.
No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion which claimed two lives and left many people injured including Mnangagwa’s deputy Kembo Mohadi and several senior Zanu-PF officials.
“This is similar to what Zanu-PF did in the early 1980s when Robert Mugabe’s regime unleashed the notorious Korea-trained Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland and parts of Midlands.
“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,” Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa told the Daily News.
In the early 1980s the then Mugabe’s government unleashed the Fifth Brigade and other arms of security on Matabeleland and Midlands provinces to fight insurrection which it blamed on disgruntled former Zipra forces, the military wing of Zapu, which fought side by side with Zanu-PF’s own wing, Zanla, during the Rhodesian bush war.
Investigations into the conduct of the security forces revealed that the operation left more than 20 000 civilians slain in the atrocities commonly referred to as Gukurahundi.
The Zapu spokesperson claimed that hostile public pronouncements that triggered mass killings during Gukurahundi were made in Matabeleland, by Mugabe at St Columbus in Bulawayo, late Enos Nkala at White City and Mnangagwa on numerous occasions in Lupane and Nkayi.
“Again, Matabeleland became a launch pad for Zanu-PF acts of terrorism against the civilian population of Matabeleland,” Maphosa told the Daily News.
Maphosa further backed his views with recent incidents which all centred on Zanu-PF factional wars and reckless statements by its leaders.
He cited the alleged poisoning of Mnangagwa in Gwanda last year during the Zanu-PF youth interface rally which resulted him being airlifted to South Africa where he went into emergency surgery.
The Zapu spokesperson also referred to the November 4 booing of Grace at White City Stadium after she had humiliated Mnangagwa who was sacked two days later — triggering a chain of events which started with the intervention of the military and ended with both the former first lady and her husband being put under house arrest.
Mugabe would go on to resign on November 21 to end 37 years of his infamous rule.
Maphosa said last weekend’s explosion was a well-timed event.
“All these Zanu-PF 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 military junta that wields political power today.
“The…incidences by Zanu-PF are part of a broad covet plan to portray the region as unsafe for all aspects of life, be it social, civilian, political and economic.
The biggest casualty is the economic prospect of the region, with all downstream and related sectors being equally affected.
“Incidentally, all these acts of terror take place as the country inches towards the watershed plebiscite on 30 July 2018, making it difficult to suggest that elections will be free and fair as the Zanu-PF terrorism escalates,” he said.