BULAWAYO - The Justice minister is not intimidating anyone against openly speaking about the Gukurahundi atrocities but will not hesitate to actively act upon falsehoods, a senior official said yesterday.
The permanent secretary in the Justice ministry, Virginia Mabhiza, said yesterday the ministry was concerned about statements that continued to be “wrongly attributed” to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is responsible for the Justice ministry.
“The Justice ministry is there to promote and protect rights and not scaring anyone,” Mabhiza told journalists here.
“But we also don’t promote falsehoods, if they are confirmed to be falsehoods, they should be acted upon.”
Former Education minister David Coltart has accused Mnangagwa of making a latter-day Gukurahundi atrocities denial after his controversial book linked the VP to official accounts of the horrors of 1980s.
The Struggle Continues: 50 years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe, an autobiography penned by Coltart, highlighted inciteful remarks reportedly made by Mnangagwa in 1983 urging the Fifth Brigade to escalate the genocide, which was only brought to an end when then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe and opposition Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo reached a conciliation on December 22, 1987, and they signed a unity agreement.
Mnangagwa allegedly referred to dissidents as “cockroaches” and the Fifth Brigade as “DDT”, a deadly pesticide used to kill vermin. The VP has threatened to sue Coltart.
Mabhiza said this was purely political.
“Without taking any sides, this is a political issue which us, as officials do not concern ourselves with,” she said.
The disparaging remarks attributed to Mnangagwa have attracted furore among a legion of social media users, particularly human rights activists calling for the VP to come clean on the subject.