By Peter Bolder|
Despite spirited denials over the weekend, vice president Phelekezela Mphoko was a CIO ‘button man’ during the deadly 1980s Operation Gukurahundi, in which up to 50 000 civilians were brutally murdered by Robert Mugabe’s forces, it emerged.
Former Zapu officials and intelligence operatives familiar with the issue said Mphoko joined Mugabe’s murderous outfit way before the 1987 unity agreement between Zapu and Zanu PF.
Former CIO officer Pearson Mbalekwa confirmed “his appointment in the Central Intelligence Organisation prior to the two liberation parties signing a unity agreement on December 22 1987”.
Former Zapu official and Zanu PF turn-coat Sikhanyiso Ndlovu also confirmed Mphoko’s CIO role.
“He was in the diplomatic service as well as in the CIO,” Ndlovu said.
A Bulawayo woman, Nomazulu Thatha, has identified Mphoko as one of those CIO officers who carried out massive atrocities during Gukurahundi, beginning in the early 1980s.
Mphoko was derided at the weekend when he went on a ‘meet-the-people’ tour in Bulawayo.
“Dont shake Mphoko’s hand, its dripping with Gukurahundi blood,” read one message on social networks.
Mphoko himself later admitted working for the CIO during this period but claimed he was only a diplomat.
“When I joined the CIO, I joined as a diplomat. Back then there were many departments, of which I fell under the diplomats branch,” Mphoko said.
Mphoko has come under fire from former Zapu members, including Dumiso Dabengwa, who accuse him of co-operating with Mugabe’s troops to get people killed in Matabeleland and Midlands and to get the party’s leaders arrested.
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