Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed in a telephone interview with The Zimbabwean that indeed Nkala had passed on at the Avenues Clinic in Harare.
“It is true I have heard he died this morning at the Avenues Clinic. I am yet to get the finer details of how it happened,” Gumbo said.
Unconfirmed reports said Nkala died from a renal disease although his health had deteriorated in recent years.
Nkala was Defence Minister under President Robert Mugabe’s government at the height of the infamous Gukurahundi massacres that left over 20, 000 civilians’ dead in Matebeleland and parts of the Midlands.
Gukurahundi started in the early years of independence that was obtained in 1980 and lasted until 1987 when Zanu (PF) merged with Zapu, then led by Joshua Nkomo.
Nkala is reported, during the civil unrest in southwestern Zimbabwe, to have vowed to wipe all Ndebele people from the face of the earth.
At the height of the Rhodesian rule Nkala along with other nationalists formed the National Democratic Party, Zapu and together with Mugabe, Morton Malianga and others mainly from Mashonaland Zanu at his home in the poor high density suburb of Highfield.
At independence in 1980, Nkala became Finance Minister, after which he moved to head the National Supplies portfolio before moving to Home Affairs following the 1985 elections.
He fell out of favour with Mugabe while a minister in the Zanu (PF) government, after being embroiled in the infamous 'Willowgate' scandal in which several cabinet and senior government officials were resigned for abusing a national car loan facility by selling the vehicles for steep profits.
During Gukurahundi, a military campaign purportedly to sniff out a small band of rebels, Nkala is reported to have disowned his Ndebele parentage.
Years after leaving government, however, Nkala is said to have regretted his past, which he described as “eternal hell”.
Also fingered in the bloodbath was then intelligence minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, now Defence Minister who is reportedly leading a faction seeking to take over the leadership of Zanu (PF) when aged Mugabe gets off the stage.
Nkala also rejected allegations by Amnesty International, the London-based human rights organization, which had reported beatings, electric shocks and other torture at government detention camps after the general election in Zimbabwe in July 2006.
The former minister claims to have written a book chronicling all that has happened in Zanu (PF) since its formation, including the Gukurahundi massacres and the assassinations of several high profile politicians using car accidents blaming the death of the struggle icons Josiah Tongogara and Herbert Chitepo and others on Mugabe.
Mugabe's opponents said the operation targeted former Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo and his supporters. Nkomo died in 1999 then as deputy president, accused Mugabe of sending men to kill him in his biography, The Story of My Life.Post published in: News