President Mnangagwa`s spokesperson George Charamba, who has dedicated his life to justifying all evils perpetrated by Zanu (PF) over decades, once again displayed his arrogance recently, when he gave Zanu (PF)`s position and its attempts to hoodwink the people into believing that Managagwa is finally addressing the Gukurahundi issue.
He starts by putting up a shameless face, claiming that Gukurahundi was a conflict. It was not a genocide but just a conflict because there were victims both sides, he claims.
For over 30 years there has been talk of a massacre of Zapu supporters and Ndebeles in the Midlands and in the Matebeleland Regions. He never bothered to answer and give evidence that Gukurahundi was just a conflict. This is because it was not by any definition a conflict. It was a well-planned and effectively executed military onslaught to wipe out a political opinion.
Obviously, the Gukurahundi issue is talked about in foreign parliaments, especially in the British House of Commons. The Americans have it in their ZIDERA. So Mnangagwa can’t just ignore it anymore and something has to be said or done.
Charamba pretends that by Gukurahundi, people refer to a military operation against armed dissidents. Many armed bandits were eliminated by the Zimbabwe National Army from 1 Brigade mostly and the Zimbabwe Republic Police Support Unit. There has never been a complaint about the genuine forces of law and order.
Charamba misrepresents facts. This is either a deliberate distortion of facts or a usual Zanu (PF) gesture of denying reality.
Political parties have tackled it relentlessly because it was political. It was a military campaign by armed supporters of Zanu (PF) against unarmed Zapu supporters. The gentleman will have to tell the world how yet unborn babies in their mothers’ wombs were in a conflict or causing it. He will prove his intelligence if he explains how a 70-year-old man who was peacefully worshipping in a church in Mpopoma was in a conflict when he was seized from the church on a Sunday morning, brutally murdered and his remains buried in a shallow grave on the outskirts of Bulawayo.
Charamba has to find an acceptable definition of conflict because Ndebeles were clearly told that they were being killed because their forefathers had killed the Shonas in the 19th century when Mzilikazi arrived in present-day Zimbabwe.
The people who lived through this period in the regions were forced to surrender all their Zapu T-shirts, membership cards and anything that had to do with the party. Some were forced to swallow badges with Joshua Nkomko`s pictures. Zanu (PF) cards were massively sold and everyone was forced to buy them at gun point by the heavily armed Gukurahundi murderers.
Some villagers bought Zanu (PF) cards with their goats. Women were massively raped as Zanu (PF) members like Simayedwa Khumalo told them that the Gukurahundi needed to have sex. This will be repeated and told to all generations if the perpetrators of the genocide continue to play hide and seek with this criminality.
Up to 1985 Gukurahundi manned election points ordering the voters to queue behind a Zanu (PF) candidate. Refusal to do so was a show of supporting Zapu – the “dissidents”. Zanu (PF)`s demon of Gukurahundi manifested itself again when the army was deployed in 2000 after Zanu (PF) had lost the election.
It is known that hundreds of opposition supporters mainly from the Movement for Democratic change were murdered by the Zanu (PF)’s armed militia. Is it being in conflict to have a different political opinion?
The same Satanic Gukurahundi reared its ugly head again in August 2018 when soldiers opened fire on fleeing women who were not even part of the demonstrators in Harare in full view of the whole world, thanks to technology. It did not end there.
In January 2019 dozens more were mowed down accused of having participated in protest demonstrations against the sudden rise of petrol prices announced by the President.
This is why Zimbabwean politicians in Harare and everywhere have taken it upon themselves to tell the world about the genocide that occurred in Matebeleland because it marked a continuous pattern of murdering political opponents by Zanu PF.
Charamba needs to be educated that whatever ZanuPF does about Gukurahundi that avoids politics will ever close the debate no matter how sagacious he believes he is. They can use tribalism, bribe chiefs, politicians will expose them. They will go to bed with certain communities including organizations representing certain interests such as sexual rights or modern day religious groupings, politicians will expose the truth. And the truth is that Gukurahundi was a military operation used for political reasons.
If George Charamba believes that he has pulled a blanket under the feet of the political parties because he found new love from some Civic Organizations then only time will tell. The demand for the acknowledgement and accountability for the Gukurahundi genocide is part of a demand for reforms to create a truly democratic political environment in the country.
It is part of demands to demilitarize politics in our country. It certainly goes far beyond just cosmetic responses to the carnage that are still mixed with denials, distortions and manipulations to perpetuate Zanu (PF) dictatorship.
Iphithule Maphosa is the National Spokesperson of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union. He can be contacted on: email@example.com