SOME Bulawayo based civic society groups and political parties have described President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Saturday’s meeting with fellow organisations as provocative to the people of Matabeleland who felt insulted by Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa’s recent tribal remarks.
Mnangagwa had a meeting with Bulawayo based NGOs under the Matabeleland Collective banner being spearheaded by Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) leader Jenni Williams.
His visit to Bulawayo comes in the wake of recent tribal remarks by Mutsvangwa targeted at Catholic bishop Robert Ndlovu, a Ndebele priest.
Mutsvangwa’s savage attack was a government response to a pastoral letter authored by the Catholic Bishops condemning government for rights abuses and poor leadership.
But her decision to single out a Ndebele priest for rebuke has not gone down well with people in the pre-dominantly Ndebele province.
“Mnangagwa’s visit to Bulawayo is in bad taste,” said Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) president Mqondisi Moyo in an interview with NewZimbabwe.
“What Mnangagwa should always know is that Jenni Williams and her Civic Society do not represent the interests of the Matabeleland and Midlands people alias Mthwakazi.”
Moyo said if Mnangagwa was genuine about addressing past atrocities committed by the Zanu PF administration on people in Matabeleland, he was supposed to immediately censure his minister for her tribal remarks.
“Mnangagwa has failed to call her mischievous minister to order after the insults she hurled at Archbishop Ndlovu calling him a tribalist and wanting to cause divisions in the country.
“She went on to say Matabeleland people are a minority.
“To us, this is a clear indication that Mutsvangwa had the blessings from her boss Mnangagwa.
“Actually, that is the position of Zanu PF government against the people of Mthwakazi,” fumed Moyo who torched a storm last month after he said that his party would not take part in 31 July national protests against poor governance and corruption insisting it would only be involved in demonstrations related to the separation of Matabeleland from the rest of the country.
“MRP will only participate in a demonstration for self-determination, that is to separate with Zimbabwe,” he thundered back then.
Bulawayo pressure group, Ibhetshu Likazulu coordinator Mbuso Fuzwayo shared the same sentiments with Moyo.
“It (meeting) is a non-event, a sideshow after the attacking of Arch Bishop Ndlovu for speaking of the current human rights violations and the past genocide that has not been addressed.
“His meetings have not yielded anything but trying to hoodwink the international community and victims to create an impression that a solution is coming,” he said.
Fuzwayo said Mnangagwa should instead hold his meetings with the affected people in the communities.
“These meetings are detached from communal needs,” he said.
“They do not represent victims in the villages because no consultations have been done with them.
“It is a master meeting his servants and the victims must not put hope in someone buying time and not serious to address and heal the nation.”
He described those organisations involved in the meeting as sell-outs.
Equally, Zapu said Mutsvangwa’s insult was a serious PR own-goal by government.
“Just as we expected him to apologise on behalf of government over Mutsvangwa‘s outbursts, the President only finds time to hobnob with his friend and puppet, one Jenni Williams, a controversial character who has appointed herself a representative of the collective righteous minority.
“Mnangagwa has simply demonstrated unprovoked ways how un-presidential and divisive he is. He has just displayed the unrepentant tribalist and genocidist he is,” said Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa.
Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) said they have withdrawn their membership from Matabeleland Collective.
“As BVTA, we resigned from Matabeleland Collective. We are not involved with that meeting,” said BVTA Director Michael Ndiweni.
Former ZPRA cadres said they had been initially invited to the meeting but the invite was not confirmed.
“Our participation at the meeting was not confirmed. We do not why we were left out because last time we attended,” said ZPRA Veterans Association Secretary, Petros Sibanda.
Mnangagwa‘s meetings have divided Bulawayo civic organisations. The newly formed Matabeleland Forum has accused the Matabeleland Collective of failing to live up to its formation objectives, that is pushing for development within the region.