Zimbabwe: Op-Ed - Mnangagwa and the Gukurahundi - Fact and Fiction

Photo: The Herald
President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

As journalists and a veritable army of newfound Zimbabwe "experts" join the bun rush to describe the history of Robert Mugabe's replacement, Emmerson Mnangagwa, there has been much talk about his role in the Gukurahundi killings of the 1980s. Some have said his part in the massacres is "shrouded in mystery", others that he was the "architect" or "mastermind". Still others seem to have bought Mnangagwa's line that his participation is a myth - or that it has, at least, been wildly exaggerated. All of them are wrong. By STUART DORAN.

In January 1983, when the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade (5 Brigade) of the army was deployed in Matabeleland North, Mnangagwa was Mugabe's minister of state security. That portfolio brought with it control over the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), a Rhodesian institution that was partly reconfigured in 1980 when Mugabe took power at independence.

Structurally, the main changes to the CIO had been the formal incorporation of the domestic security and intelligence function - previously informally controlled by the organisation through the Special Branch of the Rhodesian police - and the drafting of personnel from Zanu's department of security into the organisation.

Culturally, the well-earned reputation for brutality of Zanu's...

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