Mugabe's Gukurahundi was not formed to fight dissidents

Mugabe's Gukurahundi was not formed to fight dissidents
Published: 31 January 2018 (384 Views)
As the debate goes on about the Gukurahundi, I was very attracted to Angelina Masuku's attempt to silence the discussions by claiming that this is a key driver to underdevelopment. Without being emotional Angelina confirmed one important thing to me, that development in this country is driven by individuals, and targets areas whose communities behaves in a way that pleases so-called officials.

This confirms a discussion that once became central in the 1980s with the likes of Enos Nkala telling people that if you do not want to join Zanu pf you will not be developed. Enos is not alone on this one as Calistus Ndlovu later joined in.  Some of you might remember when Ndlovu accused Zapu of being a dead donkey, he moved around encouraging people to join Zanu in order to get development. It is no surprise that when Angelina tried to silence people on the Gukurahundi she was echoing Calistus Ndlovu's sentiments. Whether Angelina is trying to be our new Enos Nkala, history is yet to tell. What the intentions of people like Calistus are (who seem to be determined to go to their graves inflicting pain and injury to the people of Matebeleland and Midlands), the debate on Gukurahundi will never be silenced. I will repeat this; no one has ever been afraid to discuss Gukurahundi.  As long as 1981 people demonstrated (in Harare) against the formation and training of Gukurahundi. These people had a vision, they had already for seen the disaster that was going to follow with the creation of this unit. The question is why was it created? Enos said, ask Mugabe not me.

A visit to the archives revealed something interesting on this Gukurahundi issue. Mugabe's government have always linked the formation and deployment of Gukurahundi with the presence of dissidents in Matebeleland. This explanation has found takers in Mashonaland. What confuses me is that according to press reports Mugabe visited North Korea in October 1980. He met the president of that country and requested to be assisted to train a special brigade. This was five months into independence and the integration of Zpra, Zanla and the Rhodisian Forces was not even half way. On his return from North Korea, Mugabe addressed a group of Zanla guerrillas at Chipinge assembly point on the formation of this special brigade, encouraging them to join it.  According to the press reports Mugabe made it clear that this force was for the internal use only. The five brigade started training in January 1981.

The Entumbane 1 and 2 shootout between Zpra and Zanla took place after the Five Brigade has been mobilised and was in training. There after shoot outs followed in Conmara and many other places. A year after the formation of the Five Brigade arms caches were made from Zpra properties. The men who announced the discovery of these weapons was E D Mnangwagwa and Sydney Sekeramayi. Four months or so after this discovery tourist were abducted around Insuza and mbembeswana area towards Lupane. What is interesting is that those tourists were from Australia, Britain and USA. This coincidence is quite interesting because these countries by then had a huge potential to bring Mugabe's government to its knees through sanctions. It is after this incident that six months later in January 1983 the Five Brigade was deployed in Matebeleland North. The damage they caused is now in the public domain. What is still missing is, why?  Angelina Masuku is fighting a losing battle and unfortunately she Joined Calistas Ndlovu at a far too late stage.

Given the little facts gathered from visiting the archives it make sense to conclude that the Gukurandi formation was not for dealing with bandits. One is also tempted to conclude that some of those dissidents were state functionaries. It is unfortunate that no meaningful research has been carried out on these dissidents. I am confident that when this research is undertaken, its findings might help clear some grey areas on this sad story of the Five Brigade genocide.

Enos Nkala was right Mugabe need be asked again before his death. On why was the Five Brigade formed. Mnangwgwa seem to agree with Nkala when he says this matter was dealt with by his president Mugabe and the president of Zapu Nkomo.  What he forgets is that they never told us why? We can only get closure if understand why? When Mugabe refused to apologise I thought it just a behaviour of an arrogant tribalist who won power by manipulating  barbaric tribal divisions common in all former British colonies. But when Mnagwagwa seemed struggling with the issue of apology, my enthusiasm to want to know why the Gukurahundi was created shot up by more than 60%. I think kulendaba la. The Dumbutshena report on Zipra/Zanla shoot outs and the Chihambakwe report on Gukurahundi operations have some answers; we need them now.  Without these reports they shall never be the truth, without the truth they shall never be closure.  This NPRC of theirs have a big task ahead.

The NPRC (national peace and reconciliation commission) whose mandate may include Gukurahundi has a lot of work indeed. I am aware that they are people who think the NPRC was formed to deal with Gukurahundi. No, the Gukurahudi issue is just one of those things that they might attend to. People must not be surprised when this issue takes less than 10 percent of their time.

Dumisani Mpofu of Freedom First Project
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- Dumisani Mpofu


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