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Opposition Parties Attack Mugabe Over 'Disparaging' 5 Brigade Remarks

FILE: President Mugabe inspecting a guard of honour in Harare Monday at the National Sports Center.
FILE: President Mugabe inspecting a guard of honour in Harare Monday at the National Sports Center.

Opposition parties have condemned President Mugabe for saying that he will deal with war veterans fighting for his succession the same way the government cracked down on dissidents in the 1980s, which resulted in the death of an estimated 20,000 people in the hands of the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

Zapu led by Dumiso Dabengwa and Professor Welshman Ncube’s MDC formation said the president, who uttered the remarks when he addressed the party’s Central Committee meeting Thursday, has evoked memories of the Fifth Brigade atrocities.

Dabengwa told Studio 7 that it is unfortunate that Mr. Mugabe is uttering such remarks at a time the Gukurahundi massacres have not yet been resolved.

Interview With Zapu Leader Dumiso Dabengwa on Gukurahundi Atrocities
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Professor Welshman Ncube, leader of one of the MDC formations echoed the same sentiments, noting that war veterans are also to blame for attracting such a sharp rebuke from the president.

Studio 7 also reached war veteran Max Mnkandla who said the president’s remarks are not progressive.

Studio 7 was unable to get comment from war veterans led by Chris Mutsvangwa said to be backing a faction of the party, which wants Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed Mr. Mugabe.

The other factions is allegedly led by First Lady Grace Mugabe. The two have already said they don’t have presidential ambitions.

Mr. Mugabe claimed that the dissidents in the 1980s were attempting to forcibly remove his government from power. He once said the Fifth Brigade atrocities were an act of madness, but has not openly apologized to relatives of the victims of the massacres.