13 June 2004

Zimbabwe: Secret Document Outlines Plot Against Ndebeles

Bulawayo — A secret and controversial document that calls for the marginalisation of Ndebeles will soon come under the spotlight during the trial of Zapu FP president, Paul Siwela, and another politician, George Mkhwananzi.

The two were arrested in December 2002 after addressing a public meeting in Bulawayo and are facing charges of uttering inflammatory statements likely to breach peace.

The 14-page document titled: "For the eyes of the Shona Elite Only" which is reportedly a continuation of the "1979 Grand Plan" outlining why Ndebeles should not rule Zimbabwe, forms part of the two politicians' evidence to be presented in court.

However the State was opposed to a public trial, preferring the case - which is likely to attract public interest - to be held in camera.

In an unsuccessful court application on Wednesday last week, State Prosecutor, Jeremiah Mutsindikwa, said the State felt that the documents contained sensitive information and therefore the case had to be restricted to the public.

He said the contents of the document were likely to cause disorder or intolerance in the country.

Presiding Magistrate Themba Kuwanda, however, ruled that there was nothing wrong with a public trial since one of the documents, the "14 page-report" was no longer secret.

The controversial document, which was allegedly crafted by senior Zanu PF politicians, calls for the marginalisation of the Ndebele people and outlines how the party intended to proceed against the minority tribe.

Allegations against the two Zapu FP leaders are that they used inflammatory language when they were guest speakers at a public meeting on the lack of development in Matabeleland.

Siwela is alleged to have said the people of Matabeleland should arm themselves with spears and "drive away the Shona people from the region".

Mkhwanazi is alleged to have said Mugabe trained the notorious Fifth Brigade long before the existence of the 1980s "dissidents" who caused havoc in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

He is alleged to have said Mugabe created the dissidents as an excuse "for dealing with the Ndebele people".

According to court documents, Siwela alleged that Mugabe's security forces murdered six tourists killed in Victoria Falls in 1982 and then blamed "dissidents" in order to use that as an excuse to kill Ndebeles.

Representing the two is Nicholas Mathonsi of Coghlan and Welsh.

Hearing on the case is set for June 22.

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