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'Gukurahundi was planned before Zimbabwe independence'

by Staff reporter
26 Jul 2023 at 20:10hrs | Views
Former Co-Minister of National Healing and Integration, Moses Mzila Ndlovu, believes the Gukurahundi genocide that killed over 20 000 people in Matebeleland and Midlands was planned before independence by Zanu members who were in exile.

In a written piece about his experiences during Gukurahundi, Ndlovu said the timing of Gukurahundi's launch with independence meant the genocide was ‘hatched' in exile rather than in post-independent Zimbabwe

"The well-known flushing out of ZPRA cadres from the National Army starting in 1980 is another concrete proof this was the implementation of a programme well planned and orchestrated by Zanu to coincide with independence," he said.

Ndlovu argues Gukurahundi had nothing to do with dissidents because those "few ZPRAs who broke rank and refused to go into Assembly Points for obvious reasons, were rounded up by fellow ZPRA units without a fight under instructions from Joshua Nkomo."

On the contrary, Ndlovu said ZANLA had large armed units which "never went into Assembly Points but had large arms caches dotted in their operational areas."

Ndlovu narrates that in 1982, five soldiers of the Fifth Brigade army assaulted him at his Luveve home when he was a teacher at St Bernards High School in Pumula.

"In addition to beating me with gun butts, they used a homemade metal hammer whose head looked like the beak of a hornbill with a nut welded to its tip. The blows landed anywhere on my body in the wanton attack, striking my head with the hammer in the process," Ndlovu said.

"I was accused of not being fluent in Shona and not knowing my ID number by head."

Ndlovu said his attackers also accused him of not restraining his Alsatian dogs, complaining they were irritating and threatening to shoot them.

"A few days later the dogs died of food poisoning," said the former minister.

He added his assailants left him for dead after ransacking his house, stealing food from the fridge and some special non-military souvenirs he had brought from Angola and Egypt during his Guerilla training, artefacts that had become part of him throughout his years in the armed struggle.

The former minister said a friend from Mkhonto WeSizwe took him to Galen House where a specialist recommended immediate surgery but he failed to raise the money and has had to endure that pain for 42 years.

Ndlovu noted how one of his Gukurahundi attackers had a ‘scruffy' paper in hand that had a list of what he suspected were names of specific people the Fifth Brigade were looking for besides ordinary civilians.

"Soon I told them my name. I could see him take a glance at the paper again and again," he said.

The former minister writes how in 1980 at Regina Mundi, Gwayi/Sipepa, where he taught soon after leaving Papa Assembly Point, a fellow teacher, Lazarus Dokora, a former education deputy minister was discovered keeping or compiling a list of names of ZAPU people in the Sipepa and surrounding villages.

Ndlovu claimed they learnt of the list from an ex-girlfriend of one of his friends and former commander Dan Mbayiro Dube (commissar) who disappeared that year and was never seen until his scattered remains were found near Somgoro Road between Gwayi Railway Station and St Luke's six months later.  

Ndlovu also narrated how his mother was attacked by the Fifth Brigade army for not having attended a rally addressed by Zanu leaders, Enos Nkala, Mark Dube and Callistus Ndlovu at Fitjane (South Nata Rural District Council, now called Ndiweni Centre) just across the Thekwane River.

"The Fifth Brigade ferried villagers with Puma Trucks from designated points the same way Zanu is bussing people to their rallies this year in 2023," he said.

Ndlovu claims most families in Matebeleland and the Midlands have had similar, if not worse, experiences to his.

"Some families have no one to tell the gruesome accounts of what happened to them between 1980 and 1987 because they all were killed. Everyone perished mostly in house infernos they were forced into and set alight. The heartless Robert Mugabe commended the Gukurahundi for a job well done at some point," he wrote.

Ndlovu claimed during the struggle years, Zanu hardly had internal structures or support which is why they forced civilians into supporting them.

"Civilians forced to attend indoctrination meetings that lasted through the nights risked being killed by the Smith regime forces. Zanu was so cruel to civilians, they cut off the lips, ears and limbs of suspected sellouts if they spared their lives. The heinous crimes during the elections campaign of 2008 where civilians suspected of being MDC were typical of the ZANLA operations during the war. For instance, they would ask suspects whether they wanted a long or short sleeve shirt and went on to amputate the arms of victims. It's on record," said the former minister.

Ndlovu said it was shocking how the same perpetrators have "guts" to come to Matebeleland and demand votes.

"They come to show off their classy acquisitions, symbols of their ill-gotten riches, fat cars, sex slaves, slay queens, expensive imported garments and smooth baby faces, displaying bulgy pot bellies and sausage necks even at 80, as if they live in another country," he said.

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