The death has occurred of Enos Nkala (1932-2013), co-founder of ZANU, former Zimbabwean Senator, and ZANU-PF Minister in the government of Robert Mugabe (1980-1989). As Minister for Home Affairs, he was chief prosecutor of the Gukurahundi, the brutal genocidal campaign waged by ZANU-PF against supporters of PF-Zapu and the people of Matabeleland. This prosecution was undertaken despite Nkala being Ndebele himself. In a more just world, he would have died in prison.
The Telegraph obituary of Nkala is here. The writer says:
Nkala became Mugabe’s most feared enforcer after the collapse of an uneasy coalition between the ruling Zanu-PF party and Joshua Nkomo, the leader of the Zapu party. This was essentially a truce between Zimbabwe’s two largest tribes: Mugabe’s majority Shona people and Nkomo’s Ndebele. The deal fell apart in 1982 when Nkomo was ejected from the cabinet and accused of planning armed rebellion.
This supposed plot was almost certainly an invention, but Mugabe retaliated in January 1983 by sending a special army unit to Matabeleland, the home of the Ndebele in western Zimbabwe. The Fifth Brigade’s task was to wage war on the population, eradicating Zapu and enforcing support for Mugabe by terror and violence.”
Well, either Joshua Nkomo was plotting against the government of Robert Mugabe while he was a Minister in that government or he was not. At the press conference he gave in Salisbury (as it still then was) in February 1982 upon his dismissal, Nkomo was reported by Newsweek (February 1982) to have admitted that he had indeed sought the assistance of the apartheid Government of South Africa to stage a coup and to overthrow Mugabe. South Africa had, apparently, refused his request.
The crimes of the Mugabe regime against the people of Matabeland were genocidal and deserve to be punished as crimes against humanity. It does not diminish these crimes in any way to say the truth – that Mugabe’s government was also right to be suspicious of plots by PF-Zapu and Nkomo to overthrow by illegal, unparliamentary means the legitimately-elected, majority government of Zimbabwe. Later in 1982, somebody – and this was no paranoid invention of a crazed megalomaniac – blew up most of the planes of the Zimbabwean Air Force while they were parked on an airforce base at Gweru. The plots and enemies of ZANU-PF were real.
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