Zanu PF official admits mistrust

BULAWAYO - A senior Zanu PF official Godfrey Malaba says most Zimbabweans are still scared of his party and want nothing to do with it.

Malaba is a member of Zanu PF’s central committee, which is the party’s supreme decision making body.

Addressing a Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (Zesn) public meeting in Bulawayo at the weekend, Malaba said Zimbabweans viewed Zanu PF as a party of bullies which should not be trusted because of its history of violence.

“Zanu PF has so much been viewed as a bully in Zimbabwe to the extent that even if we tell people that we have reformed they do not believe us. Even if we extended a hand of reconciliation, people still do not trust us. When we try to hug them, they run away from us thinking that we want to kill them,” said Malaba.

Past Zanu PF governments have been implicated in a cycle of state-sponsored violence since independence in 1980 and outright atrocities, resulting in many Zimbabweans associating it with brutality.

More than 20 000 Zimbabweans were massacred by the Zanu PF government in the 1980s during the Gukurahundi killings conducted in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces by a crack brigade specially trained by North Koreans.

Victims were buried in mass graves while some were thrown alive in disused mines.

President Robert Mugabe, who is the Zanu PF leader, has refused to apologise for the killings although the Zimbabwean leader has called the crackdown “a moment of madness”.

MDC members, including party leader Prime Minister Tsvangirai, have also borne the brunt of organised political violence by Zanu PF supporters and security forces since 2000 with hundreds killed.

The party says many more have been uprooted from their homes by war veterans and the party’s youth militia. Zanu PF violence climaxed in 2008 when Mugabe sought to reverse his first ever defeat in a presidential election by Tsvangirai. Known senior security officers led Zanu PF militia on a campaign that left 200 MDC supporters dead and even shocked African leaders who had stood by Mugabe.

In response to Malaba’s statements, mainstream MDC deputy organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe, who was addressing the same meeting, said: “The problem with Zanu PF is that it is playing this game of politics wearing iron shoes and kicking everybody. They do not respect other parties in government.” - Pindai Dube

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