PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe must reach out to politicians from across the divide including those he expelled from Zanu PF such as former Vice-President Joice Mujuru to save Zimbabwe from collapse and rescue his legacy, fired war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda has said.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Sibanda told NewsDay in a wide-ranging interview on Thursday that Mugabe must be magnanimous if he wanted Zimbabwe to prosper after his depature.
The Zipra war veteran, credited with saving Mugabe from the jaws of defeat in 2008 and 2013 with violent campaigns, said the time had come for the 91-year-old leader to put the country first.
He is one of the top Zanu PF officials fired since December last year for allegedly working with Mujuru to topple Mugabe.
However, the man, who in 2007 led the infamous one million man march in support of the veteran ruler who was facing fierce internal opposition, said Mugabe now needed people like Mujuru to secure his legacy.
“I pray that Mugabe still has the wherewithal to save this country,” Sibanda said.
“I pray that he will cause Mujuru, Tsvangirai (Moragn MDC-T leader), Makoni (Simba, Mavambo/Khusile/Dawn) and Dabengwa (Dumiso, Zapu leader) to come to him if not as party leader then as Head of State.”
He said the country had a lot of unresolved political issues that hindered progress, hence the need for high level dialogue.
Sibanda said Mugabe should address the issue of Gukuruhundi atrocities in Matabeleland and Midlands before he exits the scene to stop the country from descending into chaos after his demise.
An estimated 20 000 people, mainly supporters of the late former Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, were massacred after Mugabe deployed the 5 Brigade to hunt dissidents in the region during early years of Zimbabwe’s independence.
Sibanda said Gukuruhundi was just one of the dark episodes where Mugabe’s intervention was needed to find closure.
“For example, we have the Gukurahundi issue. The boys who participated in the killings that affected more than 50 000 people have medals for the Matabeleland campaign,” he said.
“It means these soldiers were rewarded for the campaign. We reconciled, but nobody gave an apology, we just decided to work together.
“Mugabe did not ask for forgiveness. He blamed it on madness, but did not identify who the mad person was.
“If there is going to be closure, then that medal should be cancelled.”
The outspoken former Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ chairperson said Zimbabwe risked descending into anarchy.
“Mugabe must find it in himself to call other leaders and so that this thing is closed for good,” he said.
“We do not want to be another Germany that decades after World War (II), they are still hunting down the Nazi officers.
“We want those boys (former 5 Brigade soldiers) to walk freely, but with the way Mugabe has handled this thing, it will continue to fester. Look at what he is doing now.”
Sibanda said he was now convinced that the Gukurahundi campaign was a deliberate plot to exterminate the Ndebele people and Zapu.
“The Zanu PF chairmanship has always by practice been a Zapu position and they have abolished it. The Vice-Presidency elected by congress is gone and he has taken away the Home Affairs portfolio,” he said.
“It is becoming glaringly clear that the objectives of Gukurahundi are being finalised,” he said.
“To destroy Zapu, to destroy the Ndebeles, now it is obvious these were the objectives.
“If Mugabe leaves a State with such negative feelings towards each other, he would never be remembered the way he would want.
“We do not want a baboon culture in which if the big male grows old, they are chased away.
“We expect Mugabe to fully take responsibility and take charge of the situation,” said Sibanda, adding Mugabe needed to accept that “we have a national problem”.
Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko recently came under fire after he claimed that Gukurahundi was a Western conspiracy and had nothing to do with Mugabe. – NewsDay