18 June 2017

Zimbabwe: Dabengwa to the Rescue As Mutsvangwa Booed Over G40 Claims

Photo: The Herald
War veterans leader Christopher Mutsvangwa (file photo).

There was chaos on Saturday when war veterans Chairman, Christopher Mutsvangwa, was booed by activists from Matebeleland as he presented his paper during the Joshua Nkomo Memorial Lecture at Wits University, in South Africa.

It took former home affairs minister, Dumiso Dabengwa's intervention to calm the storm.

Also in attendance were minister of state for Bulawayo, Eunice Moyo, academics and business people-all of whom sat stunned as the angry activists jeered and whistled.

Ahead of the booing, the activists had made a protest walk out singing 'Babe bulala obaba' (They killed our fathers) as soon as Mutsvangwa stood to deliver his lecturer.

According to the activists, Mutsvangwa, a former Zanla cadre, had no business at an event which celebrated the life of Nkomo whom Zanu PF sought to kill during the 1980s Gukurahundi genocide.

However, Mutsvangwa did not help his case as he began to talk about his expulsion from government, laying the blame for Zimbabwe's problems on a Zanu PF faction called Generation 40 which he said was masterminded by education minister, Jonathan Moyo.

"What has the G40 got to do with Nkomo?" yelled the activists who had quietly walked back to boo a stunned Mutsvangwa.

"Viva Joshua Nkomo. Phansi Ngo Mugabe. Phansi Nge Gukurahuni," they further shouted leading to total commotion.

As it became clear that the master of ceremony was losing control, Dabengwa took to the rostrum and asked for the microphone.

"Folks, I kindly ask you to listen to Mutsvangwa even if you don't agree with him. We came all the way from Zimbabwe for this important event. I ask you to allow him to continue; if you disagree with him engage him later at an appropriate time," pleaded Dabengwa to a murmur of approval.

While Dabengwa's intervention rescued the situation, it did not stop the activists from occasionally shouting at Mutsvangwa whose lecture condemned the cabinet's 'intellectual poverty' and the government's 'poor policies'.

Mutsvangwa also claimed that the liberation movements were infiltrated by the western intelligence hence the divisions. That was in response to veteran journalist, Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu, who had, earlier on, told the audience that the late Leopold Takawira once sent a telegram to journalists in then Rhodesia from London alleging that Nkomo had sold out to the West.

The Nkomo Memorial Lecture came as thousands of people from Matebeleland who are based in South Africa are still bitter over the 1980s massacres which claimed an estimated 20 00 civilians.

Most of them are pushing for a separate state to be named Mthwakazi.

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