Presidential spokesperson, George Charamba has sprung to the defence of his boss President Emmerson Mnangagwa saying he had no hand in the Gukurahundi massacres, which killed more than 20 000 civilians in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces in the 1980s.
Charamba, in an opinion piece published in the Sunday Mail, shifted all blame on former President Robert Mugabe, saying Mnangagwa was then “just a ministerial minion”.
“We scapegoat wantonly as if we have not seen the inside of a management school. Just check how the whole debate on disturbances that rocked our country soon after independence has unfolded. You would think this country had no leader, no executive Prime Minister, no Commander-in-Chief for the duration of the disturbances,” he wrote.
Mugabe was the Commander in Chief at the time the government deployed its Korean-trained Fifth brigade to the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces to crush perceived PF-Zapu dissidents.
The massacres have, however, returned to haunt Mnangagwa, who at the time was in charge of State security, as he was largely seen as the face of the killings.
However, Charamba said his boss was just a minor at the time and his rule should only be measured from November last year when he took over the reins of power.
“And if minors can become majors for our convenience, then why talk about usurpation of power this last November when infact your arguments impliedly make ED the principal right from Zimbabwe’s creation day?” Charamba asked.
Defending Mnangagwa’s 100 days in office, which have been slammed by opposition and critics as a high-sounding nothing, Charamba said it was unfair to judge his boss, who is trying to right the wrongs made by Mugabe over 37 years, in just three months.
“It does not make sense to make ED the fall guy for problems of an era which he was not the patriarch. Until November last year when ED became President, this country had a President and a leader. A patriarch occupying the highest pedestal in the pantheon of Rome’s ancestors.
“Does it really make sense to load ED’s first 100 days with the cure, or expectations of it, for alleged failings of a dispensation in which he was a ministerial minion?
“Does the notion delegated authority mean anything to this who debate, Does the notion of responsibility mean anything at all in this whole debate,” questioned Charamba?
Pulling no punches, Charamba goes after the G40, which appears to be on the comeback through the recently launched National Patriotic Front (NPF), saying what appeared as succession fights in Zanu PF was nothing but a contest between good (ED) and bad (G40)
“That this firebrand rhetoric had become a smokescreen of primitive accumulation by a few, while duping the youths through empty promises of indigenisation and empowerment for which there is absolutely nothing to show on the ground as I write,” Charamba wrote.
MDC-T youth leader Happymore Chidziva, however, was quick to say, Mnangagwa had for long been the power behind Mugabe, the chief adviser, and should, therefore, take blame together with his former boss.
“It makes no sense for one to try and disassociate themselves with the past mistakes made by a person they campaigned for, benefited from his stay in power and defended day and night in parliament and outside. They are an extension of his rule, but specifically Mnangagwa is Mugabe’s rule, the shadow behind and he should acknowledge his role, he is not clean,” Chidziva said.