National People’s Party leader Joice Mujuru has once again been caught offside in her efforts to exonerate her late husband, Solomon Mujuru, from the Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980s which left between 10 000 and 20 000 civilians dead.
Mujuru told the Standard last year that her husband was not involved in the massacres, which keep on being brought back 30 years after the warring Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union signed a unity agreement ending the conflict.
“Solomon was a people’s person. He was their soldier, their commander, their hero. He worked hard to bring together ZIPRA and ZANLA during the liberation struggle. Because he had worked with ZIPRA before joining ZANLA, he had acquaintances in both liberation war armies; hence it was easy for him to bring them together,” she told the Standard.
“It is also for the same reason that he had to be called back from Pakistan where he was attending a military course when Gukurahundi started. He had to be called back to try to find ways of ending the fighting that had started in his absence,” she said.
Mujuru has repeated the statement in at least two television interviews one in South Africa and the other with the British Broadcasting Corporation.
This has, however, been refuted by Judith Todd, in her book Through the darkness, which was published in 2007.
She dedicates a chapter entitled- Meeting the army commander, to her meeting with Mujuru, then known as Rex Nhongo, Brigadier Agrippah Mutambara and Justin Nyoka at the Quill Club in Harare on 17 February 1983 and informing him about the atrocities.
Mutambara is now leader of the Zimbabwe People First while Nyoka was director of Information.
Todd says she had been given documents detailing the atrocities by the Catholic Bishop of Matebeleland Henry Karlen to hand over to her father Garfield Todd who was a senator at the time.
Nhongo, she says, even asked her “for specific localities” because he “he was going to Matabeleland by helicopter the next day, and would send a car for me so that I could go with him and show him the mass graves”.
Todd says she gave Nhongo her number and later phoned Bishop Karlen asking if she could give Nhongo copies of the documents. The Bishop agreed rather reluctantly. She gave the documents to Mutambara, whom she said raped her.
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