Tsvangirai demands Mphoko apology

HARARE - MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is demanding an apology from Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko for his remarks that the former prime minister was once involved in an assassination attempt on the late national icon Joshua Nkomo and that he was also behind the Gukurahundi atrocities.

Mphoko told journalists after a closed door meeting in February with the Zanu PF leadership at the party’s provincial headquarters in Bulawayo — that Tsvangirai had participated in the atrocities that saw more than 20 000 civilians killed in Matabeleland and Midlands between 1983 and 1987.

This was after President Robert Mugabe’s government had deployed the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade to fight insurrection in the South western parts of the country.

Through his lawyers Atherstone and Cook, Tsvangirai is demanding a retraction and public apology from Mphoko for his statements he says are false and defamatory.

“We are instructed to demand from you as we hereby do the retraction of the unfounded and defamatory allegations you made against our client in Bulawayo on February 4, and a public apology over the subject defamatory statements.

“You must realise now, in the context of the falsity of your statements that your allegations against our client regarding Gukurahundi are not only untruthful… they are terribly defamatory.

“Your false statements incorrectly portrayed our client as a cruel, murderous and evil person who would associate himself with, and participate in horrendous activities of the Gukurahundi-era madness,” said Tsvangirai’s lawyers.

“The defamatory allegations also cast our client as a dishonest politician who would make the public believe that he cares about justice for victims of the Gukurahundi massacres when in fact he had participated in the persecution of the said victims.

“The reaction and apology must be issued by you in a public manner as you deliver them; that is at a press conference convened for the purposes of setting the record straight with journalists from all media houses in Zimbabwe in attendance,” they further demanded.

Mphoko made the remarks after Tsvangirai’s whirlwind tour of the Matabeleland provinces where he was canvassing support for the mooted grand coalition which is expected to contest Mugabe and Zanu PF in next year’s eagerly-awaited elections.

“Tsvangirai was around a few weeks ago and said as MDC-T, they want to fix the Gukurahundi issue and said Zanu PF has failed and he can do it.

“Let us not forget that when Cde Nkomo’s car was shot he (Tsvangirai) was at the forefront, when an officer-in-charge was killed in Tsholotsho, he was there too. The same person wants to address the Gukuraundi issue now,” Mphoko said then.

Nkomo, the late vice president and one of the stalwarts of Zimbabwe’s struggle from the 1950s to the 1970s for independence from Britain, died in 1999 at the age of 83 after a long illness.

After independence in 1980, Nkomo served in Mugabe’s government for two years but was dismissed by his former brother-in-arms for allegedly plotting a military coup.

He always denied the charge and was later reconciled with Mugabe, taking one of the two vice presidents’ posts in 1987, after the nonagenarian and Nkomo’s Zapu signed a Unity Accord, leading to the integration of PF-Zapu and Zanu. 

    Comments (1)

    The person responsible for Gukurahundi is standing right next you, but you seek a fight with someone else all the way across town. What does Mugabe do/give to these ple?

    Zuze - 26 July 2017

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