Documentary on Zimbabwe genocide takes aim at Mnangagwa

Documentary on Zimbabwe genocide takes aim at Mnangagwa
Published: 18 October 2018 (193 Views)
A new documentary on massacres by Zimbabwe's military has led to harsh exchanges as the 1980s killings challenge a new president who preaches unity but refuses to apologise for his alleged role in one of the country's deepest wounds.

The screening in the capital, Harare, would have been almost impossible under former leader Robert Mugabe, who led the country for 37 years and resigned following military intervention in November.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a longtime Mugabe loyalist and enforcer who succeeded him, has tolerated documentaries and plays critical of the government amid promises of a "flowering of democracy."

But none has taken such direct aim at Mnangagwa as the new documentary on the army operation he supported as state security minister between 1983 and 1987. "Gukurahundi genocide: 36 years later" is named after that campaign.

During Operation Gukurahundi — "the early rains that blow away the chaff" in the local Shona language - a North Korean-trained brigade rampaged through the southwestern provinces of Matabeleland, leaving 10 000 to 20 000 civilians dead. That's according to a 1997 report by the Catholic Commission on Peace and Justice that drew on more than 1 000 interviews and is seen as the most authoritative account.

Like his predecessor, Mnangagwa has refused to apologise but said he will accept recommendations of a national peace and reconciliation commission conducting public hearings on the atrocities.

"Authorities are not comfortable with this subject," producer Zenzele Ndebele told the screening crowd on Wednesday night.

"Most people involved in Gukurahundi are now in power. This makes them uncomfortable," said Ndebele, who said he was summoned by police before being allowed to screen the documentary in September in Bulawayo, a city where many of the atrocities occurred.

The documentary highlights Mnangagwa's alleged role and features interviews with villagers, former top military officials and politicians narrating how they were tortured and jailed for belonging to an ethnic group accused of harboring anti-government rebels.

Some say Mugabe used the military campaign to stamp out support for the rebels. Others saw the massacres as an attempt by Mugabe to weaken any opposition to his stated aim of a one-party state.

Villagers recount being kept in camps and forced to dig graves for mass burials. Girls were raped and husbands forced to watch as soldiers raped their wives, witnesses say in the hour-long documentary.

"Since I was pregnant I was spared," one elderly woman says.

Another woman says her husband divorced her because he could not stand sharing her with soldiers.

Although the 94-year-old Mugabe now lives quietly in the capital, the atrocities remain a fresh scar. At the screening in Harare, the simmering tensions showed.

"It was biased, this is vendetta journalism," 26-year-old Lonias Rozvimajoni said afterward. He described witnesses as "bogus" and the documentary as "fiction," to a chorus of support from some. They said the timing of the documentary's release was meant to tarnish Mnangagwa's presidency.

Others shouted back, defending the work.

"You are hired guns," barked Ibbo Mandaza, an academic who runs a non-governmental organisation that hosted the screening, referring to the seemingly pro-government youths.

"Gukurahundi happened. I was in government at the time, I witnessed it," said Mandaza, who had been a ruling party official.

He abruptly ended the session, although the heated exchanges continued over tea and biscuits in the courtyard.

"Maybe it will take them to become victims to understand," Dumisani Mpofu, who worked on the documentary as a researcher, told The Associated Press.

- AP

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Knox Mutizwa wins August Goal of the Month award

by kickoff | 05 November 2018 | 656 Views

BREAKING: Gandawa on the run

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 1281 Views

Econet cannot distribute Kwese TV content to Zimbabwean viewers

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 975 Views

Shoot-out robbers arrested

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 1024 Views

Mnangagwa ally warns economic saboteurs

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 998 Views

Chamisa mobilises supporters for mass protests

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 814 Views

LISTEN: Acie Lumumba speaks on how he got paid

by Staff Reporter | 05 November 2018 | 661 Views

Dzamara speak on Zanu-PF fights

by Mandla Ndlovu | 05 November 2018 | 642 Views

Minister Raj Modi Modi donates salary

by Mandla Ndlovu | 05 November 2018 | 521 Views

'I am a Trillionaire' Magaya says

by Mandla Ndlovu | 05 November 2018 | 875 Views

Supermarkets to be blacklisted over cooking oil

by Mandla Ndlovu | 05 November 2018 | 560 Views

UK army to recruit from Commonwealth

by BBC | 05 November 2018 | 579 Views

Magaya opens up on arrest

by Mandla Ndlovu | 05 November 2018 | 575 Views

Kambarami is still 'Deputy Mayor'

by Mandla Ndlovu | 05 November 2018 | 455 Views

'Import ban must not go beyond December 21'

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 537 Views

Prophet Magaya puts fresh spin to arrest

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 537 Views

Chamisa's sign language interpreters get thumps up

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 513 Views

Mnangagwa to review Mthuli Ncube's 2% tax again

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 507 Views

Lumumba to be probed by ZAAC?

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 368 Views

Dzamara speak on ZANU PF fights

by Mandla Ndlovu | 05 November 2018 | 332 Views

Zimbabwe as a new gateway into Africa

by Minister of Finance Prof Mthuli Ncube | 05 November 2018 | 516 Views

Chiwenga's ex-wife looted millions

by Mandla Ndlovu | 05 November 2018 | 846 Views

We are our own worst enemies

by Mapozho Saruchera | 05 November 2018 | 570 Views

Mnangagwa to deal with unexplained wealth and bank deposits

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 554 Views

WATCH: Chiwenga talks about Prophet Walter Magaya's lipstick

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 529 Views

Lumumba Saga takes new twist....War vets bay for Mutsvangwa's blood

by Mandla Ndlovu | 05 November 2018 | 615 Views

Chamisa demands Presidency

by Mandla Ndlovu | 05 November 2018 | 498 Views

Zimbabwean teachers miss out on New Zealand opportunity

by Staff Writer | 05 November 2018 | 443 Views

Zimbabwe to introduce e-provisional driver's exams

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 477 Views

Zimbabwe to supply water to South Africa

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 477 Views

Mnangagwa claims that 'good times will soon roll'

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 460 Views

Zimbabwe as a new gateway into Africa

by Hon. Prof Mthuli Ncube | 05 November 2018 | 514 Views

Chiyangwa appoint Karikoga Kaseke

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 457 Views

ZCTU demo: Ruling today

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 410 Views

Missing cop found dead

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 526 Views

Tagwirei marries long-time girlfriend

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 813 Views

Zimbabwe relaxes maternity leave entitlement

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 488 Views

Zimbabwe to receive drugs, ambulances from India

by Staff reporter | 05 November 2018 | 412 Views