Zimbabwe's new president implicated in 1980s massacres
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Gukurahundi - When Robert Mugabe Refused To Apologise
The Gukurahundi was a series of massacres of Ndebele civilians carried out by the Zimbabwe National Army from early 1983 to late 1987. It derives from a Shona language term which loosely translates to "the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains".
During the Rhodesian Bush War two rival nationalist parties, Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), had emerged to challenge Rhodesia's predominantly white government. ZANU initially defined Gukurahundi as an ideological strategy aimed at carrying the war into major settlements and individual homesteads. Following Mugabe's ascension to power, his government remained threatened by ZAPU and manufactured "dissidents" – saying that they disgruntled former guerrillas and supporters of ZAPU.
ZANU recruited mainly from the majority Shona people, whereas the ZAPU had its greatest support among the minority Ndebele. In early 1983, the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade began a crackdown on Ndebele tribes in Matabeleland and Midlands, every area where ZAPU had its supporters; the Ndebele homelands. Over the following two years, thousands of Ndebele were detained by government forces and either marched to slaughter camps summarily executed, some buried alive, thrown in disused old mines. Women raped, pregnant girls bayoneted, foetus pulled out from their stomachs and left dying.
Although there are different estimates, the consensus of the International Association of Genocide Scholars is that more than 20,000 people were killed. Mugabe refused to apologise, even the current Mnangagwa government, because they were involved in this massacre, are running away from addressing the issue; instead, they formed a fit of no purpose committee and called it “Peace and Reconciliation Committee”. How can one talk about Peace and reconciliation before accepting that what happened was wrong and make a public apology first?
Require new Zimbabwean regime to account for Gukurahundi genocide
The Zimbabwe Vigil is petitioning the UK Government to require new Zimbabwean regime to account for Gukurahundi genocide.
The petition reads: Zimbabwe has reportedly been encouraged by the UK Government to apply to rejoin the Commonwealth.
Zimbabweans in exile in the UK, and supporters urge the UK not to support readmission until the ruling Zanu PF satisfactorily addresses the genocide of some 20000 Ndebeles in the 1980s. A simple apology would be a start but we believe an independent truth and reconciliation process offers the best hope of healing the still bleeding wounds.
You can sign the petition here: http://chn.ge/2BXIgko
Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.
Zapu information desk.
Zapu, Zanu PF clash over voter slips
14 February 2018
BULAWAYO – " A Tiger will never change its spots" The lies told by the President of Zimbabwe Mnangagwa to
the world leaders in Europe that there will be free and fair elections in Zimbabwe have been exposed by what is
happenning on the ground in rural areas accross Zimbabwe. If Zanu government think that the British and
Americans and the western civilised world will pump in money to an economy on its knees because of empty
promises; the Junta have to think again" said an activist in the United Kingdom. This week Zanu PF and Zapu
supporters here clashed last weekend over registration slips, with the latter disrupting the ruling party’s meeting
at Zhokwe village. The Zapu supporters accused Zanu PF officials in the district of allegedly forcing villagers to
bring their voter registration slips for them to be eligible to receive food aid.
This comes amid outcry from opposition parties over continued intimidation of voters by Zanu PF officials, who
of late have been accused of demanding registration slips’ serial numbers from would-be voters.
Southern News understands that the meeting had been called by village head Roger Ndlovu with the agenda to
inform his subjects about the need to register for them to get food aid. However, that was before Zanu PF
officials, led by area commissar Pharaoh Nyaliwa Ndlovu, highjacked the meeting and started giving
instructions that only those who brought voter registration slips would be eligible. This, however, did not go
down well with some Zapu officials that were part of the meeting, who – led by one John Dube – immediately
forced the meeting to adjourn arguing the ruling party had no right to demand the registration slips. Zanu PF’s
Nyaliwa Ndlovu shifted the blame to the party’s local secretary in the area identified as Grace Vumani.
“I was only called to the meeting where I was told by Vumani to bring my BVR (biometric voter registration) slip
for it was a requirement to register for food aid. I did and gave it to her at the meeting.
“Chaos started when John Dube challenged the slips issue and his Zapu colleagues joined in. They disrupted
the meeting and it was closed,” Ndlovu told Southern News. Village headman Ndlovu confirmed the
development, saying he had to adjourn the meeting following the skirmishes. “Yes, we had a meeting that was
disrupted by members of Zapu and other people who were disrespectful. They refused to surrender their BVR
registration slips and there was chaos. The registration slips were a requirement for residents to register for
food aid. I failed to hold the meeting and had to close the meeting,” said Ndlovu. Zapu deputy national
organising secretary Ndodana Moyo confirmed the stand-off between the two parties saying the party had to
intervene to protect its members. “It is true we have such a problem in Gwanda Central.
What surprises us as Zapu that President Mnangagwa pronounced to the nation and international community
that his government will ensure free and fair election yet his party is antagonising our people especially in rural
areas where intimidation by Zanu PF is rampant,” Moyo said. “It is against the spirit of free and fair elections as
provided for by the Constitution. However, this time around Zanu PF will not have it easy as they are used to
run over the MDCs. Zapu matches them man-to-man and we will never have their nonsense. Our Zipra
veterans are already on the ground to protect all citizens.”
Source: DailyNews Live
Ndebele Chiefs to meet Chiwenga over Gukurahundi
The request was made in a letter to Chiwenga dated December 10 before he was appointed VP following the November military operation that toppled former president Robert Mugabe and replaced him with Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The request was made in a letter congratulating Chiwenga for his role as Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in staging a successful military operation.
The emotionally charged letter received on behalf of Chiwenga by one Major General Muradzi on December 11 came after a meeting between Chiwenga and the chiefs from Matabeleland on December 7.
According to the letter which the chiefs say is yet to be responded to, the traditional leaders proposed January 5 this year (tomorrow) for the beginning of open talks on Gukurahundi. They said the time to continue shrugging off debate on the massacres as if they never happened was over.
"Sir, let us have a face to face engagement over the issue and find a long-lasting internal resolve without engaging the outside world," part of the letter signed by one Chief Ndiweni on behalf of the head of delegation Chief Vezi Maduna reads.
"Let us mutually together and collectively have a closed roundtable meeting not for revenge, but to bring finality to this issue.
"We are all mature. Let us face it amicably and we free ourselves once and for all. Let us frankly engage not blame, revenge each other on these disturbances, but let's bring Godly mutual finality without spilling blood or having unnecessary name-calling and retribution."
The Gukurahundi issue has been an emotive subject since the 1980s when the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade descended on the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces, killing people under the guise of thwarting a dissident movement.
Statistics claim over 20 000 people were killed although Mnangagwa, during a recent interview in Davos, Switzerland where he was attending the World Economic Forum said the figure was over-stated.
He, however, could not be drawn into apologising for the atrocities which took place when he was the State Security minister.
Mugabe also refused to commit himself to debate on the killings, opting to say it was a "moment of madness".
But the chiefs said they had confidence that Chiwenga would preside over the engagement process to bring closure to the emotive issue following the December 7 meeting.
They said the engagement would help heal the country and spearhead unity and development and thus implored Chiwenga to openly debate the issue with all the affected people.
Mnangagwa has signed the Bill on National Healing and Reconciliation to deal with many issues, among them the Gukurahundi genocide.
ZAPU unearths massive voter intimidation in Nkayi
There is already evidence that in many parts of the country, especially rural areas a clear intimidation and threat of repression is widespread, including the use of force against those don’t tore in line with the rulling party Zanu.
It is evident from the Junta ‘s history that neither domestic courts are likely to declare an election un free or unfair on the basis of this kind of background manipulation, although the international community will find the election process to be marked by a lack of transparency and worrying irregularities.
At the end of the day, it is only hard evidence of ballot box stuffing or faulty vote tallying that is likely to sway them. Up to now not even a single implementation of voter improvement has been done; both the Mnangagwa and Electoral Commision is mum about it this crucial matter.
ZAPU national secretary of cultural affairs Cosmas Mafu has reported massive voter intimidation by ZANU PF in Nkayi.
According to the ZAPU official, would be voters in Nkayi North have since vowed never to participate in the forthcoming elections fearing a repeat of what befell them during Gukurahundi.
The villagers in ward 6 told Mafu how village headman Nqamu, his wife and Danoti Ndlovu have terrorized them since beginning of BVR exercise
Ngqamu, who is also believed to be ZANU PF chairman in the area, together with the other two officials of the party have instructed youth secretary Phephile Ncube to collect serial numbers from every villager soon after they register.
Ncube is also in possession of ZANU PF forms that capture all identity and contact information of residents, including their addresses and dates of birth.
Because of this most would be voters have vowed never to cast their votes in the constituency saying the way ZANU PF is operating is the same way it did during Gukurahundi, listing names of people and later rounding the listed ones for slaughter, most times in front of their families. They fear the same as all their details have been collected by the same people who carried out Gukurahundi, in the same fashion they did then.
One of the residents, a woman has vowed to leave the area with her children and return after the elections. She says she and her family would rather be away during elections so that nobody asks them who they voted for.
Asked to explain, Ncube said that hers was only carrying out the instructions which she alleged came from ZANU PF headquarters and relayed through Nqamu, his wife and Danoti Sibanda.
Mafu sought audience with ZANU PF central committee member in the area Amos Mkhwananzi, who stammered when asked about the registration slips. Mkhwananzi told the ZAPU official that they were going to meet the CIO over the weekend and discuss the matter, after which he would come back to Mafu. He however never came back.
The saga has also sucked in the MP of the area, Sithembiso Nyoni who allegedly was heard at one of her meetings warning those who refused with their serial numbers saying, "ozakwala zindaba zakhe ngoba uRugeje uyeza emalangeni. Ufuna ukuthola ama serial number wonke ekimi". Rugeje is ZANU PF national commissar; the most notorious Gukurahundist.
by Dr. Dumiso Dabengwa, ZAPU President
A Mugabe dynasty was abhorred by many Zimbabweans
In hindsight, the tipping point for the accelerated overthrow of Robert Mugabe and his eventual replacement as President by Emmerson Mnangagwa was reached when it became clear that Mugabe was going along with moves to elevate his wife, Grace Mugabe, to leadership of the ruling ZANU-PF Women' League. This positioned her for the slot of Vice-President of party and state at the expense of Emmerson Mnangagwa in the expected special party congress. The possibility of a Mugabe dynasty was abhorred by all in the opposition and also sharpened divisions between the main factions in the ruling party. For ZAPU and indeed for the ZPRA Veterans Association, this shaped our opposition to the status-quo.
War veterans' associations united against anti-people tendencies
One of the remarkable developments of 2017 was the growth of cooperation between war veterans' associations historically divided by alignment to ZAPU and to ZANU. They opposed political excesses and related economic corruption and unequivocally put these down to departure from the values of the liberation struggle (for independence and freedom). For the first time since the late 1970s those who were involved in the armed struggle found common cause that went beyond their differences as they had done during the Patriotic Front. The arrogance of the Mugabe regime convinced war veterans that if they stood divided in the face of impunity there was no chance of change. Furthermore this renewed collaboration would facilitate the involvement of all stakeholders in the transition to a democratic and accountable order.
The veterans' associations held a series of meetings and consultations that would culminate in a massive rally on 18 November 2017 to be followed a march into State House to physically eject Mugabe.
Mugabe regime goaded the army to intervene in crisis
The threat to army leaders as factional fights in the ruling party intensified made intervention inevitable, resulting in the military "Operation Restore Legacy" shortly before the massive demonstration planned for 18 November by the war veterans. This popular entry by the army into the crisis created space for ZANU-PF elements to hijack the demonstration and pose as previously "silent" opponents of Mugabe. The ensuing veneer of legitimacy and legality provided by a compliant parliament was then used to bypass the more radical cleansing of the state and to pave way for uncontested perpetuation of ZANU in power, albeit with a military core.
Presidential powers survive change of guard and signal limited change
The massive powers enjoyed by Robert Mugabe have been inherited intact by Emmerson Mnangagwa, who happens to have been an architect of some of them and has been a loyal apprentice. There are many who were surprised at the choice (retention?) of cabinet ministers from elements who had poor reputations even by the standards of the Mugabe regime, suspected of shady deals. However, this failure to escape the Mugabe past was in some ways inevitable once the emerging change was presented as a ZANU affair backed by the military and other parts of the security sector. Lack of an inclusive agenda meant falling back on the inherited arsenal of presidential powers and demonstration of continuity even in making of appointments. Significantly, the trend of politicizing the military was taken to new heights, with serving officers moving into key political offices without a cooling period. The security sector must not be used as a party political tool and its effectiveness ultimately depends on professionalism and defense of the public interest.
Reforms provide a chance to outgrow the backward Mugabe regime
President Mugabe will be remembered for resisting or stalling on reforms that were due according to the Constitution adopted in 2013. Notable lack of progress is evident in the establishment and operation of independent Commissions. The government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa can redeem itself by ensuring that the Human Rights and the Peace and Reconciliation Commissions are taken more seriously. Violence supported or perpetrated by state institutions, such as the Gukurahundi massacre of over 20,000 unarmed civilians in the 1980s in Matebeleland and the Midlands, must get some closure through appropriate engagement of affected families and areas by government.The enjoyment and protection of civil liberties is at the heart of our liberation struggle, including freedom of assembly which is still infringed by application of outmoded practices inherited from the colonial rule books.
The approaching elections due in 2018 must be preceded by the strengthening of the capacity and independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). Without free and fair elections there will be no meaningful or lasting peace.
Devolution a litmus test
There have been no signals from the newly-installed regime of President Mnangagwa that fundamental change in the structure of government along the lines of the 2013 Constitution will get priority. Devolution of power to the provinces needs to move from general platitudes to become a key feature of how all parts of the country will set local priorities and share in their resource base. There are many examples of marginalization and asset-stripping that became possible only because of central control, patronage and abuse of unchecked authority. This is why our party retains the implementation of devolution provisions in the constitution as a top demand and platform for change.
Economic environment/discipline and investment
The new regime has committed itself to restoring discipline in the economy, not least by making the right noises against corruption and economic crimes. We hope this will continue in the next six months or so left before scheduled 2018 elections. This would lay the ground for reconstruction premised on internal confidence and a favorable environment for attracting foreign direct investment. Even a resource-rich country like Zimbabwe cannot afford leakages of billions of dollars from the economy without efforts to plug the gravy train.
Incentives for return of Diaspora
The new President has made welcome calls on Zimbabweans abroad to come and develop the country. The economic and political conditions that have driven predominantly young people to neighboring countries and even further afield have to be addressed because the emigrants have drive and rich expertise that can benefit the country and themselves. Under the Mugabe regime there were insufficient efforts to prepare for effective participation of those in the Diaspora in the elections. We hope that those who can do so will make arrangements to register and take part in the forthcoming elections.
Separation of party and state on service delivery
Reports are still reaching us of ruling party structures being used to control seed and fertilizer distribution instead of state institutions. These carry-overs from the Mugabe regime constitute the worst examples of abuse of state power for party political purposes. We shall be vigilant to expose and agitate against such practices, and hope that the current regime will also discourage these practices from the past.
Daring to hope for the liberation dream
ZAPU is the oldest surviving political brand in Zimbabwe, having gone from mass mobilization and peaceful campaigns in the 1960s before spearheading the transition to armed struggle for freedom and independence. I mention this in order to remind our people that the fundamentals that drove different generations to sacrifice life and limb have in many cases eluded us. Our right to peace and security has been tampered with for over thirty years, and even when we had a chance to acquire and benefit from our land this has been distorted and abused by the ruling clique. Our manifesto and key policy documents will outline the way in which we propose restoration of sanity on the land, and put the interests and needs of the people at the center of government in general.
I think that it is not too much to hope that fundamental change is possible and a dividend for the long struggle for democracy and accountability that resulted in the removal of Robert Mugabe in 2017. On that note I wish all Zimbabweans a Happy New Year and new start in 2018.
Current Situation in Zimbabwe
The country has for decades been under a plethora of problems emanating from corruption, patronage, looting, tribalism and nepotism, suffocation of democracy and democratic space, lawlessness due to complete disregard of the constitution by the ruling elite.
As a result of the above, Zimbabwe witnessed alarming rates of unemployment, unprecedented poverty, collapsed social services such as health and education, a collapsed financial services sector, rendering the country a basket case for failed states in Africa.
The actions by the Zimbabwean defense forces are a culmination of continuous efforts by Zimbabwe's opposition parties to find and proffer solutions to the problems bedeviling the country.It is unfortunate for Zimbabwe that the country's situation had to degenerate into the current impasse, which we believe is the least of resorts aimed at addressing the national problem, but ZAPU would like to recommend to the military to facilitate expeditious return of the country to civilian rule as soon as their operation is over.
ZAPU, as subscribers to human life sanctity, pray to all concerned in this difficult time to continue preserving life and also prioritize the welfare of Zimbabweans in all their actions.
Going forward, ZAPU anticipates beginning of a transitional process to swiftly normalize the situation in the country. A broadly inclusive transitional authority must be put in place. It must, of necessity, include opposition parties and be accommodative of the diversity that obtains in this country.
The transitional authority, as priority, may be tasked with addressing issues of devolution, electoral reforms as well as coming up with a clear program for the resuscitation of the economy, in preparation for a democratic electoral process.
We suggest a deliberate undertaking to level the elections playing field to allow for a dispute free election that is free, fair and credible.
by Iphithule Maphosa
Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU).
"The Bhalagwe Commemoration did not take place because police did not “approve” the notification lodged by Ibhetshu likaZulu, the organizers. Instead on the day the police set up road blocks and barred access from the trunk road into the turn-off to the site where bodies of civilians were dumped into disused shafts following killings during “Gukurahundi” operations by the Fifth Brigade of Zimbabwe’s army. The short address from Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, who was accompanied by other senior leaders of ZAPU, is reproduced below. A few copies were given out at the road block but the lighting of candles on the ground was stopped by riot police who scattered the candles with baton sticks."
Gukurahundi Commemoration at Bhalagwe, Matopo North, 21 October 2017
Dr. Dumiso Dabengwa, ZAPU President: Speaking Notes
Today, 21 October 2017, we are here in Bhalagwe to remember what should not have happened to the people of Matebeleland and the Midlands, and indeed what should not have happened to anyone in newly independent Zimbabwe. We are witnesses to mass killings on a scale that future generations may find difficult to comprehend, yet even we ourselves at times wish it was just a bad dream.
Heartless and well-planned ethnic slaughter
When ZANU-PF gained control of Zimbabwe in April 1980 following our independence from Britain, it did not take long to show its intent to destroy ZAPU. In October 1980 Robert Mugabe, who was Prime Minister at the time, came to an agreement with the government of North Korea for the training of the Fifth Brigade. The next step was the arrival in 1981 of 106 military instructors to train the Fifth Brigade which, according to former Vice-President, was recruited from the Zezuru ethnic group from Zvimba jn Mashonaland West.
As it turned out, the purpose of the Fifth Brigade was to carry out “ethnic cleansing” dubbed “Gukurahundi”as well as crushing ZAPU to pave the way for a one-party state controlled by ZANU=PF. False allegations were made against ZPRA cadres and some of us were arrested and subsequently detained without trial. At the end of January 1983 Mugabe unleashed his 5th Brigade on a genocidal expedition in Matebeleland and Ndebele-speaking parts of the Midlands. Over 20,000 civilians were killed yet the excuse of the operation was that it was to fight so-called “dissidents” who were threatening the security of the state.
In Matebeleland South, Bhalagwe became a notorious place of sadistic beatings and torture. We recall with sadness and outrage that this place experienced daily deaths as a result of these cruel acts of armed men. Many families can attest o the constant digging of graves by survivors. At the same time, some of the bodies of victims were taken away in truckloads and dumped in Antelope Mine shafts.
A solemn remembrance
We recall and recount these gruesome facts of the “Gukurahundi” massacres so that those who died unnecessary and painful deaths may not be forgotten for the great price they did not have to pay, but which they paid so soon after their children, siblings, parents and friends died in the struggle for the liberation of Zimbabwe.
Today ZAPU joins Ibhetshu LikaZulu to pay respect for the people who were buried in mass graves at this place and those whose bodies were dumped in Antelope Mine shafts. All the people buried unceremoniously died with their hopes for peace and a better life that should have come with independence. To attain this many had fought with guns, gave food and medicine to the ZPRA forces, or provided the fighters with intelligence on the enemy. We therefore hope that this is the first of many commemorations to come.
Independence does not necessarily mean freedom and human rights
It is a rich irony that Dr. Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo who is universally recognized as “Father Zimbabwe” hailed from this traumatized district. He summed up the unfulfilled hopes and aspirations of the people by reportedly observing that late in his life he realized that independence does not necessarily mean freedom. In an independent Zimbabwe he was forced by circumstances to swallow the 22 December 1987 “Unity Accord” as the price for stopping the “Gukurahundi” massacres. This terrible “accord” entailed the incorporation of PF-ZAPU into ZANU-PF and the unstated wiping out of ZAPU and ZPRA history, and not just appropriating institutions but rebranding heroes and heroines of our struggle. Since ZAPU re-emerged in 2010 we are rebuilding our legacy and our role in creating a free, democratic and prosperous state. We shall intensify this by playing a constructive role in forging unity of opposition forces to remove entrenched ZANU-PF rule in the 2018 elections.
One of the failures of the last 30 years which we shall tackle is putting closure to the tragic history surrounding “Gukurahundi”. For a start, there has been no official apology for the unwarranted destruction of life and property of over 20,000 unarmed civilians by the security apparatus of the state.
Thirty years after the start of the killings the closest the ZANU regime has come to acknowledging responsibility was when President Mugabe called the episode “a moment of madness”. The unrepentant perpetrators of this crime against humanity have lost many opportunities to own up and to begin a healing process that starts with a sincere apology to families of victims, a program for redress including negotiated compensation even so late in the day. These are some of the issues that we hoped would be dealt with by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission established under the 2013 Constitution. There was a glimmer of hope when the distinguished Advocate Cyril Ndebele was appointed as the first Chairman of this Commission in February 2016, but his unfortunate death within the same year robbed the country of an opportunity to deal intelligently and decisively with the healing process. We owe this to ourselves and to future generations.
The outside world needs consistency
Zimbabwe is part of the global community, and at the time of “Gukurahundi” was more rational in dealing with former colonial powers. The Western World which has been fortifying its own human rights was either unaware of the scale of the genocidal killings in Matebeleland or in some cases more concerned about perceived geo-political interests. It has since become clear that shameless tribal killers are not respecters of race either. In a perverse way, unregulated violence following the chaotic occupation of white farms improved awareness of the injustices inflicted on the defenseless Ndebele-speaking people. Archive material now declassified outside Zimbabwe is coming out with evidence of deliberate Western silence whereas some restraint could have been applied to reduce the level of cruelty and loss of lives. We hope that the indivisibility of human rights will be a guiding principle for dealing with instances of state violence.