By Jonathan Maphenduka
WHEN one has gone through the four-page statement by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting minister Monica Mutsvangwa, the sum total of her message regarding the recent pastoral letter of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop’s Conference (ZCBC) is to tell the world that she is a former freedom fighter. The world must, therefore, know that when she dies she will join other heroes and heroines at the National Heroes’ Acre. Otherwise her statement is totally without good logic or justification and rises to the height of negating responsibility.
The statement singles out a member of the ZCBC for attack and tries to show the Rwandan genocide of 1994 as a relevant example or parallel of the Zimbabwean genocide, which preceded it. “There was a civil war in Rwanda,” she states, while she acknowledges that in the Zimbabwean case there had been a mere threat.
Monica does not say why two foreign military units brought their experts to train a genocidal brigade to commit untold atrocities in minority tribe regions of the country over a five-year period.
One does not wonder why there was a genocide at all in Zimbabwe. It was a carefully planned operation whose results had their origin in 1963 when the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) broke away from what became its counterpart, the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu), which became a perceived enemy of the majority tribe. This led to the tragic demise of African nationalism, the only phenomenon in the African voice against white racism, which promised to lead to a united Zimbabwe without coercion.
In the Rwandan genocide experience, the world knows that it followed the shooting down of an aircraft in which both presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were killed and the Hutu blamed the Tutsi of Rwanda for the tragedy. How can anyone in his or her sober senses claim that the two episodes were justified or can be justified under any circumstances?
Monica makes spurious and unfounded charges against the leader of the ZCBC, Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu in particular, without in anyway absolving other members of the ZCBC of any blame either. This line of her mindset is designed to create an idea that Ndlovu leads an exclusive tribal group to discredit the government and the Shona.
She accuses Ndlovu of seeking to position himself “as leader of righteous Ndebele minority” to create the notion that they are victims of “tribal victimisation”. She does not accept that Gukurahundi was a tribal victimisation instrument for which only 5 Brigade must be blamed.
Monica, the Ndebele (like many other tribes) have their own unfortunate weaknesses. They have, however, never claimed sanctity of what you call “the psychosis” of their tribe, whatever that is. You accuse Ndlovu of “concurrently sowing sins of collective guilt” against the Shona majority. What you mean, Monica, is that Archbishop Ndlovu accuses, in that pastoral letter, the good people of Mashonaland of having been involved in wrongdoing against the Ndebele minority.
There is, however, no thread of evidence or record that Ndlovu ever made such malicious accusations against the Shona. Yes, the Ndebele have been victimised by cynics in the fold of your ruling elite. They have also been meticulously (if I may borrow your word) excluded by both the first and second republic from the good of belonging to this country.
Your righteous indignation against Ndlovu, therefore, has the smell of a power-driven cynicism and your justification of atrocities against the Ndebele minority while you infer that Ndlovu has accused the Shona of the atrocities. You are rabble-rousing to arrest the declining support of your party by Zimbabweans of all tribal distinctions.
You have the privilege of power to posture in the following manner in your statement. “Fellow Zimbabweans, Gukurahundi is indeed a dark spot in the tortuous task of nation-building by Zimbabwe.
“The two parties of that ‘needless’ chapter of history need to be hailed for seeking peace and unity to avoid the abyss that could have been a full-blown civil war.”
Don’t you know that Zapu represented the victims of the genocide and the party’s cadres had been disarmed at independence, while an exclusive tribal brigade had been mobilised, trained and armed against them to prevent that abyss of a full-blown civil war in which Zapu’s cadres and their people had nothing to defend themselves with.
You have every reason to be happy because there was the so-called Unity Accord which Joshua Nkomo signed to save his own life. Monica, did that tortuous task to build a nation have to begin by inviting foreign military experts to train 5 Brigade to bear fruit? Why are you trying to make it sound as if Zapu had a hand in the “tortuous” operations to bring about unity, which was disturbed by “dissidents” created by 5 Brigade to discredit Joshua Nkomo?
How easy was your so-called tortuous task when they marched into minority regions to massacre unarmed and innocent civilians without discrimination because they belonged to a tribe?
Just how confused is your understanding of the reason why there had to be a genocide in minority tribe regions? Your party continues to cultivate the pervasive notion that Gukurahundi was an operation by the people of Mashonaland against their alleged enemies the Ndebele, when the real fact is that a specialised army unit was created, trained and armed for the operation and Perrance Shiri appointed to command it.
This was the man who played God and blasphemed the Lord by calling himself “black Jesus”. Is that not the gutter level to which the comrades have stooped, and seek to take the innocent people of this country with them? This strategy has been created by the ruling party to keep this government in power to scapegoat the innocent people of Mashonaland, when the fact is that the ruling clique of your party is solely to blame?
Monica, some of your remarks, like your reference to your role in the liberation struggle, are too naïve for comment. There are Shona families (like the Dzamara family) who have lost sons abducted to create in the mind of the people of this country a state of perpetual fear.
One cannot close this narrative without referring to her self-glorification for having joined the liberation struggle and she attacks Archbishop Ndlovu for failing to answer the call to join in the noble cause. “I am even much younger than you, yet I fought in that war,” said Monica in an outburst of self-glorification.
Were you there, Comrade Monica, when Zanla forces executed six old women near Mpamawonde School in Bikita in 1978, for allegedly practicing witchcraft? You assert that Ndlovu was a coward because he “did not answer to that call to heroism in the 1970s”.
Who is going to rescue the people of Zimbabwe from this polluted mindset?
l Jonathan Maphenduka contact 263 772 332 404.