WASHINGTON DC —
A non-governmental organization says Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko should apologize for claiming that Zimbabwe’s five brigade atrocities were a conspiracy by the west to block the spread of communism in southern Africa.
Heal Zimbabwe programs manager, Sithabile Dewa, tells VOA Studio 7 local people are concerned about Mr. Mphoko’s recent utterances, in which he claimed that President Robert Mugabe was not part of the atrocities that left thousands of people dead and maimed in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the 1980s.
Mr. Mugabe has already said the atrocities, targeting then opposition leader Joshua Nkomo’s PF Zapu supporters, were an act of madness.
The Five Brigade, trained by North Koreans, was designed to allegedly clamp down on what the government said were dissidents that it linked to the late Mr. Nkomo.
Nkomo distanced himself from the dissidents, noting that it was a creation of the government as an attempt to cripple his party that opposed Mr. Mugabe’s style of governance and attempts to create a one-party state in the 1980s.
Indications are that 20,000 people were killed by the army unit, which operated outside the normal duties of the Zimbabwe National Army then under former ZANLA and ZNA commander, General Solomon Mujuru.
General Mujuru died in an inferno at his farm in 2011 under mysterious circumstances.
General Mujuru is believed to have told close associates that he was not aware of the operations of the Five Brigade that killed innocent civilians.
His wife, former Vice President Joice Mujuru, has since been kicked out of the government for allegedly attempting to topple President Mugabe.
She has denied any wrongdoing, claiming that her sidelining was designed to catapult some Zanu PF top officials to power.