A former Zimbabwean freedom fighter said Wednesday that civic organizations should press the Harare government to shelve a proposal to invite North Korea’s soccer team to train in Zimbabwe during the 2010 World Cup period.
Paul Themba Nyathi, a former fighter with the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army or ZIPRA, the armed wing of the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African People's Union, said the fact that the government's World Cup committee invited the North Koreans suggests some politicians are not committed to healing and reconciliation. He said the presence of the North Korean team would revive hurtful memories of 1980s suffering in the so-called Gukurahundi conflict in Matabeleland pitting rival liberation parties, in which many civilians died.
Nyathi, a member of the national executive committee of the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that civic groups should organize to reverse the invitation extended to the North Korean team. “I expect all people to pull together to ensure that the North Koreans will be barred from training in Zimbabwe,” Nyathi declared.
Zimbabwe's unity government Cabinet is expected to discuss the North Korean visit next Tuesday after failing to meet this week because President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara were in Tanzania attending the World Economic Forum and an African liberation event.