ZIPRA divided over death of Muzariri

joshua_nkomo_giantBULAWAYO - The death of Zimbabwes Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boss, Menard Muzariri, on April 11, attracted no official sympathy from Zimbabwe Peoples Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), the armed wing of the authentic Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU) led by the late Joshua Nkomo (pictured).

Muzariri, who was a close ally of Defence Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, helped deploy the Fifth Brigade, notoriously known as Gukurahundi, in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the early eighties. Gukurahundi saw the extermination of at least 20 000 civilians, mostly PF-ZAPU members, by a combined operation involving criminal elements in both Zanu (PF) and the ex-Rhodesian army.

Some ZIPRA cadres such as army commander, Lt General, Philip Valerio Sibanda, attended the funeral in Harare on their own accord, said ZIPRA Veterans Trust vice chairman, Buster Magwizi. However the Trusts chairman, Lazarus Ray Ncube, differed with Magwizi saying: Lt. General Sibanda attended the funeral in his official capacity as a senior commander of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA).

ZIPRAs cautious approach with the press is perhaps attributable to the sensitivity of Muzariris alleged involvement in Gukurahundi.

Another reason could be that during the 1970s, Sibanda and Muzariri were respectively ZIPRA and ZANLA instructors at Morogoro, in Tanzania. Moreover, Sibanda and the late Muzariri shared an acquaintance of over 40 years dating back to the days of the liberation struggle. This long-standing relationship could be the reason Sibanda attended the funeral.

Pressed to comment on the professional character of the late Spy Chief, ZIPRAs Ray Ncube said, We do not want to talk on his career and membership in the CIO.

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