Coup accused ex-army officer and opposition party United Crusader for Achieving Democracy (UCAD), Albert Matapo has labelled vice president Phelekezela Mphoko a “lying divisive element” who must be investigated for his role in Gukurahundi.
Mphoko recently declared that President Robert Mugabe had nothing to do with the 1980’s Gukurahundi conflict which, rights groups say, claimed about more than 20,000 civilian lives in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions but branded it a conspiracy of the UK, US and apartheid-era South Africa
“Mphoko must be investigated immediate for the role he played in Gukurahundi as I am convinced he is hiding something from the nation,” said Matapo in an interview recently.
“If you cautiously follow his interview where he claimed that Mugabe was not responsible for Gukurahundi you will realise the man has a lot to tell. If he has such information and claim to have belonged to Zapu why did not he take that information to his leadership and helped exposing the Bristish and Apartheid government?. This man is a murderer he must be brought to book along Mugabe and Mnangagwa for killing vulnerable civilians. Why is he trying to defend what everyone know was done by Mugabe and Mnangagwa. He has a hidden hand in it and he knows if Mugabe and cabal are arrested he will also be one of them. The country should be just happy that Mphoko has just exposed himself as a contributor to these atrocities.”
Matapo further challenged the Human Rights groups who probed Gukurahundi to investigate Mphoko.
“All those who were tasked in probing these madness disturbances must visit Mphoko to get the other side of the story. He is guilty and should not be left to escape justice,” he said.
The former army captain with six friends was abducted in May 2007 and went on to spend seven years imprisonment for an alleged coup plot against President Robert Mugabe and attempted jailbreak.
Soon after his release, Matapo made sensational claims that respected former army boss Brigadier-General Paul Armstrong Gunda was assassinated by State security agents who falsely linked him to the alleged plot.
Mphoko has previously denied participating in Gukurahundi. Despite his strong liberation struggle credentials and his surprise ascension to the post of vice-president, Mphoko is still haunted by his past – his secretive activities in the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) between 1981 and 1987 – and his controversial remarks about Gukurahundi in 2009 when he was Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Botswana.
While Mphoko has narrated to the public his illustrious history in the liberation war, he has not acknowledged that he worked for the CIO during the Gukurahundi period, something which his former Zapu and Zipra colleagues, including former Zipra intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa, find deeply dishonest.
Last month Dabengwa described Mphoko as a “deceitful sell-out” who hides information that he was a state security operative after Independence.
“On attainment of independence in 1980, Mphoko was one of the few Zapu cadrés to be inducted into the CIO,” Dabengwa said, in a statement written jointly with the Zipra high command.
Dabengwa also charged that Mphoko ditched Zipra at the height of the struggle.