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Should army generals involved in gukurahundi be brought to book? #Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter
18 Nov 2017 at 05:33hrs | Views
REVERED wartime commander and Zimbabwe's first black military General Solomon Mujuru might have been aware the post-war atrocities that continue to evoke emotions to this day.

Commonly referred to as the Gukurahundi atrocities, the genocide left over 20 000 civilians dead as then Prime Minister and now President Robert Mugabe's government unleashed a crack military unit on the western regions of the country.

Former Vice-President and widow to the late general Joice Mujuru has been on record claiming her husband, who died in an inexplicable inferno at his farm in August 2011, had nothing to do with the atrocities.

But a declassified United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report seems to lift the lid on how senior officials viewed the brutal military incursion that critics claim was meant to destroy opposition to Mugabe's rule.

"On February 11, 1983, army Commander Nhongo [Mujuru's nume-de-guerre] tells senior commanders of plans under consideration by government to purge army of 7 000 to 10 000 former Zapu guerrillas," the report claims.

Zapu was then lead by the late Joshua Nkomo, who was cowed into submission before he went on to become Mugabe's deputy in the aftermath of the purges.

Mugabe let loose the 5th Brigade under the guise of hunting down a handful of ex-Zapu dissidents, but the report argues that the Zanu-PF leader could have used this as a ruse in pursuit of a one party state.

Joice claimed in an interview last year that her husband had been out of the country and Mugabe was forced to recall the army boss as the atrocities got out of hand.

"Solomon was a people's person. He was their soldier, their commander, their hero. He worked hard to bring together Zipra and Zanla during the liberation struggle.

"It is also for the same reason that he had to be called back from Pakistan, where he was attending a military course when Gukurahundi started. He had to be called back to try to find ways of ending the fighting that had started in his absence," she said.

Joice now leader of opposition party, Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) through her spokesperson Gift Nyandoro insisted Mujuru did not have a hand in Gukurahundi that Mugabe has characterised as a moment of madness.

"The issue of Gukurahundi, its implementation and perpetration had nothing to do with the late Retired General Mujuru. It is a matter of public record that the 5th Brigade was directly under the control of the man responsible for running down our country today and that is the authority of Mugabe," he told NewsDay Weekender.

"Such unfortunate allegations by a so-called CIA report that are being released now, ought to have been made public when he was alive. The publication of that report only leaves us with questions given that the General cannot respond and more-so that he died in very mysterious circumstances."

Nyandoro argued that, while Mujuru was army commander, he had a boss.

"The report is meant to protect those guilty of the most heinous crime this country may ever see. Unless someone wants to tell us that Mujuru was the Commander-In-Chief of the army. If not, then the person who was boss needs to own up and take the fall for those atrocities. The buck stops with Mugabe. He was the final voice," Joice's spokesperson said.

Source - newsday

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