15 October 2017

Zimbabwe: State Media Columnist Urges Genocide

A controversial state media columnist has caused a social media storm after describing Ndebeles as a "stupid breed of useless people" on Facebook.

Reason Wafawarova, who writes a weekly column in The Herald, faced a social media backlash over his latest comments about Ndebeles.

On Friday, responding on his Facebook wall to an individual who was defending President Robert Mugabe, Wafawarova -- who assumed his converser was Ndebele -- appeared to suggest a second Gukurahundi -- the 1980s massacre of mainly Ndebele-speaking people in south-western Zimbabwe -- was necessary to change his mind about the Zanu PF leader.

"You are busy supporting the very man who killed your people," Wafawarova posted. "You deserve more of that treatment, I would say.

"I wish Mugabe could do another 20 000 deaths round on you so you can wake up. Very stupid breed of useless people."

Urged to fire his columnist on Twitter, Herald editor in chief Caesar Zvayi said he took no responsibility for what Wafawarova writes on social media or elsewhere.

"I am only responsible for what he sends to The Herald. This, I assure you, wouldn't find space in The Herald," Zvayi said in a response that many on Twitter felt did not go far enough.

Zimbabweans on Twitter rounded on the Australia-based Wafawarova, calling him "disgusting" and describing his comments as "hate speech".

Zim Media Review, a Twitter blog on Zimbabwe media, said: "Reason Wafawarova has always written hateful things, in his column and on Facebook. This latest post is low, even for him."

Wafawarova, who publicly backs a Zanu PF faction led by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has used his Facebook account to take aim at a rival faction coalescing around first lady Grace Mugabe.

Writing on October 11, he appeared to take the fight to Mugabe and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, writing: "The ballot box is not for the terminally old and the terminally sick. Wake up Zimbabwe. Time for a dignified NO."

In apparent reference to Grace, he wrote: "The end is dire, particularly for her. Zimbabwe liberation fighters were not called terrorists for nothing. Deadly Plan."

In another controversial comment, posted on September 10, he hammered both Mugabe and his wife, writing: "There is no hero greater than a 93-year-old concurrently running a bottom low messed up country, a crazy wife and delinquent kids."


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