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Ousted Deputy Minister Apologizes for Promoting Tribal Divisions

Ousted Deputy Minister Apologizes for Promoting Tribal Divisions
Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Simelisizwe Sibanda (Picture via Facebook - Simelisizwe Sibanda)

Former Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Simelisizwe Sibanda, has issued a public apology to Zimbabweans for his recent actions that were perceived as tribalistic and divisive.

In a statement released on July 2, 2024, Sibanda acknowledged that his approach to addressing the issue of a teacher’s language proficiency was “misguided and inappropriate” and perpetuated tribal divisions.

He took full responsibility for his actions and apologised to the teaching fraternity and the nation at large.

“I understand that my actions may have perpetuated tribal divisions, and for that, I truly apologise to the whole teaching fraternity and nation at large,” Sibanda said.

Also read: Millions Worth Of ZIG Notes With Mangudya Signature Destroyed!

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“I want to assure the public that my commitment to our nation’s unity and development has always been genuine.”

Sibanda’s apology comes after he was fired by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday for inciting tribal tensions in his constituency.

The President’s decision was made in accordance with Section 108(1a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and was effective immediately.

Sibanda’s dismissal was sparked by an incident where he verbally attacked a Shona-speaking teacher at a school in his constituency, accusing her of “having a Shona surname and killing children” and ordering that she be transferred out of the area.

The incident was captured on audio and sparked outrage among teachers and parents in the community.

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In his apology statement, Sibanda expressed gratitude to the public, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, and his party Zanu-PF for supporting him during his tenure. He also apologised to the President for letting him down.

“I want to thank His Excellency, the President CDE Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, for trusting me and giving me the opportunity to serve within the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation Science and Technology Development, and regret that I have let him down,” Sibanda said.

“I remain committed to the nation’s progress under the leadership of our visionary leadership of His Excellency CDE Dr E.D Munangagwa as we consolidate the gains we have made as we pursue Vision 2030.”

Tribalism in Zimbabwe has a dark history, marked by violence and bloodshed. One of the most egregious examples are the Gukurahundi Massacres, which occurred in the early 1980s.

Following independence, the government of late former President Robert Mugabe deployed the army to crush dissent in the western regions of the country, predominantly inhabited by the Ndebele people.

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The resulting campaign, known as Gukurahundi, resulted in the deaths of an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people, mostly from Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces. The current president, Mnangagwa, was the State Security Minister at the time.

The massacre was fueled by tribal tensions and political repression, leaving a legacy of trauma and division that still haunts Zimbabwe today.

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