Zanu-PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu accused deputy information minister Energy Mutodi of stoking tribal hatred in Zimbabwe after appearing to suggest Ndebeles are South Africans.
Mutodi was earlier this week forced to delete a video in which critics said he made comments questioning the nationhood of the minority Ndebele people from western Zimbabwe.
“You will find that here in Zimbabwe, if you didn’t know, just about 1836 we accommodated thousands of South Africans who came into Zimbabwe fleeing from (King) Shaka, and they were being led by Mzilikazi,” Mutodi said in the video, which he later withdrew saying he had been “misunderstood”.
Mpofu, speaking at a Zanu-PF event in Bulawayo to review the indigenisation and economic empowerment policy, said Mutodi’s utterances were “unacceptable”.
Said Mpofu: “There are certain statements by certain leaders which are unacceptable to the party. There was a recent statement where somebody was saying there are three million South Africans in Zimbabwe.
“That’s a totally unacceptable, misdirected statement which is not from Zanu-PF. You see what’s happening in South Africa (xenophobia), it’s because of such reckless statements.”
Mutodi deleted his video, insisting that he had been misunderstood. The comments had been made in the ongoing anti-foreigner attacks in South Africa.
“My tweet saying about three million Zimbabweans were of South African descent has riled some Zimbabweans. The tweet has been misunderstood, giving political capital to the opposition. I wish to withdraw the tweet and unreservedly issue my apologies to whoever was affected,” Mutodi tweeted on Wednesday.