By Violet Gonda
18 December 2009
Enos Nkala, one of the founders of the Zimbabwe African National Union, has said he was not involved in the Gukurahundi and denies having anything to do with instructions to carry out the massacres. Gukurahundi was the name given to the armed conflict in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the mid 1980’s that led to the deaths of 20,000 Ndebele people, after ZANU PF unleashed the notorious, North Korean trained, Fifth Brigade in the area.
In spite of numerous reports of his involvement the veteran nationalist lays the blame squarely on ZANU PF’s Robert Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Speaking on the programme Hot Seat on Friday Nkala said: “In 1985 we had elections. After those elections I was appointed Minister of Home Affairs. It was during this time that through my influence in cabinet we made attempts to stop what was happening… it was me who went around removing the curfews.”
He said: “I am not the author and finisher of Gukurahundi. That question must be put to Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa who was in charge of the CIO.”
Nkala denied threatening ZAPU at a rally in Stanley Square in Bulawayo, where he is alleged to have said ‘ZAPU must be eclipsed’, and giving ZANLA forces instructions to carry out an attack. It was statements like these that allegedly led to the Entumbane fights - the first disturbances that led to the Gukurahundi.
But Nkala also denied this, although he admitted that he advocated for ZAPU’s ‘political destruction’ but not military destruction. He said he would not be living in Matabeleland if he had ordered the killings of his own people.
Nkala said ZANU was formed in his house in Highfields in 1963, and that he was one of three people, including Edgar Tekere, who put Mugabe in the position of leader of the party.
But he said ZANU PF today is not the party he helped form and he believes Mugabe must be prosecuted for crimes against humanity for what he did in Matabeleland and the Midlands. He added that he supports the targeted sanctions and says they must not be lifted. He said Mugabe’s ‘worst evil’, apart from the Gukurahundi, is the destruction of the economy which caused the mass departure of young people from the country. “ZANU PF should be talking about the victories of today and not of the past. You cannot be talking of the victory of 1980 when people have no food and are suffering,” said the former minister.
On the issue of the government’s land ‘reform’ programme, Nkala said this was a ‘madman’s exercise’ and no mature person would condone the chaotic land redistribution programme that has killed agriculture in Zimbabwe. He said not every former fighter agrees with the way the commercial farms have just been taken. He said there should be a fresh land redistribution programme, when ‘Mugabe dies and ZANU PF is out of power’.
He believes ZANU PF is no longer able to sustain itself as a political party and is now controlled by ‘self seekers’. Nkala said: “ZANU PF is on its death bed, in intensive care. Mugabe is old and he is sick just as I am old and sick. John Nkomo who has just been promoted to Vice President is old, he is sick and anything can happen to him. How then do you expect sick people to attend to the massive economic problems?”