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Ask why Dumiso Dabengwa crushed ZimRights Gukurahundi investigations while Minister of Home Affairs!

by Nomazulu Thata
05 Jul 2021 at 06:13hrs | Views
While accusations are still hot on Obert Gutu, can we revisit our past and see where things went wrong for the victims of Gukurahundi in Matabeleland and Midlands. I maintain that what Gutu uttered was insensitive but that said: what was the position of our Matabeleland leaders on Gukurahundi atrocities, light years before Gutu uttered the abomination.

It was not only the Catholic Commission for Justice that documented atrocities of genocide, ZimRights too were deeply pro-active: they had a professional team that comprehensively documented and established facts about genocide in Matabeleland and Midlands. A group of about ten ZimRights people produced a 70-page document that was made available to the public until Zanu PF government removed it from sales of publishing companies.

DD was Minister of Home Affairs under Mugabe administration when he crushed ZimRights investigations of the Gukurahundi atrocities. The objectives of ZimRights were crystal clear, to seek audience with former President Mugabe and at the same time seek international funding to rehabilitate and restore dignity to the victims of genocide dead and alive.

Curiously, Mugabe referred ZimRights to Home Minister Dumiso Dabengwa to deal with the case. What Dabengwa said verbatim to ZimRights as his reaction is in the archives of Bulawayo Chronicle: whoever wants to know more about our painful past must do a comprehensive research and dig into the archives to find out the truth about genocide in Matabeleland and Midlands.

DD told ZimRights to "stop at once opening old wounds and digging graves of Gukurahundi past". If that is not painful enough, inconceivable how the region was able to comprehend this statement coming from a decorated Zipra Supremo. When DD was in the government of Zanu he was not helpful to the region of Matabeleland. We need to know what the former Minister Dabengwa told the British government when he was invited by the UK government to inform them first-hand about Gukurahundi atrocities. Before we start heaping unprintable insults on Gutu, can we smell our armpits and acknowledge the pungent smells coming from ourselves. His meeting with the UK government was never published in Zimbabwean news.

During the time DD was Minister, he had no time for people of his region. He feared Zanu, we took it that it was the trauma he suffered when he was in prison at Chikurubi Maximum Prison. We can only speculate that what he said to the British Government was not in the interest of the people of Matabeleland and the victims of genocide. This cannot be water under the bridge by any stretch of anyone's imagination. There are several people in the region of Matabeleland who have evidence of Zapu leaders to messed up the genocide historicity of the 1983 – 1987 out of fear of Mugabe regime. DD found his voice to talk about Gukurahundi heavily criticizing Zanu later when Zanu had jettisoned him out of the party and government.

Sure, I was one of the Zapu members in the UK who resuscitated new Zapu party in 2009 inadvertently rehabilitating Dabengwa who had been humiliated by Robert Mugabe: Mugabe a man who has no permanent friends but permanent interest. Dabengwa lost elections in Nkulumane constituency, Zanu could not keep a failed politician, he was discarded in Zanu style. If Zanu is done with you, it does not keep you but jettison you. DD was bitter, only then did he start to criticize Zanu as perpetrator of genocide; DD languished in prison for 5 years on trumped up charges of arms catches.

Let us visit the pre-independence time in Zambia; Zapu lost credible commanders including Comrade Mangena and Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo. Those two men were the cornerstones of Zapu struggle for independence. Their deaths left a vacuum in the Zipra wing of the armed struggle presaging the demise of Zapu before independence of 1980 and after. Without JZ Moyo and Mangena, it was not possible to envisage a Zapu win in free and fair elections that were bitterly and heavily contested on tribal lines. Astute intelligence and eloquent advisers were missing in Zapu to strategize the first elections successfully.
After the deaths of those two: Nkomo did not have adequate, efficient intelligence advisers in the command struggle to advise the way forward strategically. It is not possible now to give names of those who approached Nkomo and told him how vulnerable the party had become in the absence of Comrade Mangena especially, he was always in the front in Rhodesia with the boys. Mangena never gave orders only, but he went with freedom fighters in the front.

Evidence of our vulnerability was the continuous bombings targeted at all refugee camps irrespective of whether the camps were civilian or not. The coordination of the struggle each time after bombings reflected lack of strong leadership in the Zipra military high command. The party was evidently infiltrated by those Nkomo trusted most both at political and military level. Who sold out to Smith regime about camps that had moved away from FC to Solwezi? That is not to say DD was an informant of Smith regime: certainly not. Some commanders in Zipra sold out the struggle and lived large in Lusaka at the expense of lives of innocent civilians.

When Rhodesian military attacked Nkomo's house in Lusaka, he was rescued by the British intelligence that gave Kaunda a tip that Smith regime was planning to assassinate Nkomo in his house in Lusaka. Our own intelligence, apparently slept on the wheel, was informed by the Zambian intelligence. Before the Rhodesians could strike, Nkomo was removed and was offered a safe place by his friend KK: MHESRIP. Nkomo had previously turned down peace talks with Ian Douglas Smith – talks that would have excluded Zanu and Mugabe.

DD sold his soul when he tried to please Mugabe and Zanu at the expense of the victims of genocide. We need to find out what Dabengwa told the British government about genocide in Matabeleland during his time as Minister of Home Affairs. That hidden consultation with the UK government is important because it will inform us how to strategize National Peace and Reconciliation and to bring about perpetrators of genocide to account. Remember too that the Gukurahundi genocide had a geo-political element in it.
When Perence Shiri died, we were told that he was exonerated on atrocities of genocide by Dabengwa. We wrote articles again; gladly he was still alive then, critiquing Dabengwa. He had no mandate from any court of justice to exonerate criminals who perpetrated crimes of genocide nature. Genocide atrocities are not handled and exonerated sundowning, dangling glasses of "gin and tonic" but they are serious crimes handled by international courts and not personal friends and individuals.  

The UK will play a relevant role in unpacking atrocities of genocide for many reasons; it was the colonial master that supervised Zimbabwe transition to independence. The processes leading to independence and the political position of the British government on Zimbabwe after the elections in 1980 are important in finding peace and reconciliation in the country.

The British government, SADC, EU AU, and the UN should be peace brokers in unpacking the genocide atrocities. National Peace and Reconciliation will offer credible results if it has an international component in their investigations. Noble citizens, including David Coltart, Tony Reeler, Nicholas Ndebele, Magonya, Sigagula, Nkathazo, Moyo and several others should be part of the NPRC so that we have credible results.

The current NPRC commissioners are compromised by Mnangagwa and Zanu and will never bring about satisfactory results if international bodies are not included. The people in the region should be pro-active demand international solution to peace and reconciliation.

When DD tried to talk about Gukurahundi condemning the Zanu Government after he was jettisoned from Zanu, it was hollow, he had previously shot down credible investigations from ZimRights: investigations leading to bring to account genocide perpetrators to justice. There are columns in newspapers written about Dabengwa and how he shot down investigations on genocide. Flip-flopping in Zimbabwean politics is not specific to Obert Gutu or Jonathan Moyo only, but it cuts across all tribal divides.

I read comments from Matabeleland in articles online and I realize that young people have inadequate knowledge about what transpired during the struggle for independence and the politics after independence. The tribal element in our political discourses, be it yesterday and today, plays a role in articulating differences of opinions of national interest in most media houses. It is my wish that the nation can rise above the narrow confines of tribal affiliations, and we learn to embrace our cultural diversities: it is never too late to accept the othering. Other countries in Africa have succeeded in embracing cultural diversities. (If they did it: why can't we did it)

I can only appeal to us all that we need to find facts objectively about what transpired in the struggle and who are responsible for the genocide atrocities, demand credible closure and not compromised solutions on such major national atrocities: Gukurahundi, farm invasions, Murambatsvina, the 2008 elections, the disappearance of Itai Dzamara, the shooting down of innocent citizens after the 2018 elections and in January 2019.

Source - Nomazulu Thata