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The lame duck approach to gukurahundi genocide: A case of stitching rear opening of alimentary canal to cure diarrhoea

18 Apr 2021 at 08:06hrs | Views
As Zimbabwe celebrates what it calls independence, forty-one (41) years on, government's lame duck approach to the resolution of the gukurahundi genocide disappointingly remains the case of stitching the rear opening of the alimentary canal in an uninspiring bid to cure liquid diarrhoea. Obviously, such a kindergarten and peace-meal approach to genocide solution will never work and continues to menacingly pierce the hearts of the victims on the one hand while on the other, perpetrators dance kongonya jive in merriment every 18th day of April. Unless the genocide is decisively resolved, the woeful day and its commemorations will remain an insult to the victims, affected communities and all those with a not-yet-dead conscience.

A dishonest attitude
The current approach is dishonest and inhumane, to say the least. It is characterised by a lack of sincerity in the supposed encouragement of public debate about the genocide. Despite Mr Mnangagwa seemingly encouraging discourse on the genocide, the reality on the ground indicates that it is just a political publicity stunt possibly aimed at appeasing the unconvinced international world to view the second round of the first republic in some positive light. It is not in any way for the good of the victims and the generality of the country. Grassroots organisations like Ibhetshu Likazulu, families and individuals are being denied the democratic space and right to hold commemorations of the genocide. The endemic fear of ZANU PF and its state security apparatus also renders the pronouncements of free discussion null and void. Are the victims of the genocide allowed to gather anywhere at any time, in a bus or emtshoveni to discuss their experiences? The skewed composition of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) also indicates the alarming insincerity of the government towards the resolution of the problem. The bulk number of the people of Mashonaland who bestride the narrow corridors of the commission raises justified suspicions that the bag has a smelly cat inside. Perpetrators will never grant justice to the victims, and that strongly applies to the current situation. Government could do better than this.

Top-down approach
The current top-down approach to the resolution of the genocide is unrealistic and cannot parturate the lasting solution. The fact that government and ZANU PF, the chief culprits, who masterminded the genocide which saw over 20 000 civilians being wantonly slaughtered like flies, are the ones in the forefront of the whole process exposes the whole thing as a sad joke. And it really is a monstrously disaffecting one. Only a grassroots people-driven bottom-up approach could effectively construct a well-structured and largely unfailing methodology in solving the problem. The uninvited involvement of government agents and other security personnel to skuttle the participation and freedom of the victims and the general public justifiably delineates the real malicious intentions of the perpetrators, which is to mislead the world. The lip service from government suggesting free-will debate is only done in hotels and elitist settings while communities languish in fear of reprisals if they talk their hearts out. Nothing is communicated to the ordinary rural villages advising of the said free-talk that government has ostensibly granted them. This portrays the sad reality that the initiative is not grassroots-driven but just an exotic political stunt. Genuine organisations and individuals are disallowed to freely express themselves about the genocide. By the time of writing, the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP)-proposed gukurahundi march, pencilled for the so-called independence-day has reportedly been disallowed. These are some of the monumental signs and symptoms of the lame and limping approach to the problem. The serious approach by other governments like Rwanda post the 1994 genocide is in stark variance to Zimbabwe, signalling the appalling lack of resolve.

Perpetrator-controlled process
The perpetrator-controlled resolution process embarrassingly exposes itself in the manner that it remains unknown by the victims and associated communities. The process is not convincingly talked about even on state-controlled mass media like radio and TV. Only obscure declarations are made by the government without a clear road-map. This kind of grandstanding by the second round of the first republic is counter-productive and will remain without force or effect except to negatively expose its tired proponents. Predictably, the process is being railed and chiselled in the direction of the government officials' wishes who are, ironically, the perpetrators. The calculated exclusion of the community-based organisations, victims, survivors and other affected individuals renders the whole process a non-event of enormous proportions.

Politicisation of the process
Another aspect rendering the process ineffective is its politicisation. To a discerning eye, the victims are only granted the scarcely available space and measured freedom to talk about it. There is a sparse probability that the issue could be used as a campaign mantra in Matabeleland in the plebiscite projected for 2023. This is not in tandem with an approach that should be civilised and impartial. A glance at the list of prospective commissioners for the NPRC is shockingly exposing how politics is running rings in the whole shabby process. After former MDCT vice President, Obert Gutu's public announcement that he has returned to ZANU PF, the next thing, he is shortlisted for the interviews to be an NPRC commissioner! My foot! The next thing, a certain Dr Ncube is said to have brought notes to the interview and could have been disqualified gukurahundi-style by now. One would be idiotic as not to see the commission for what it is. In that regard, the whole affair is political goose play for possible material gain for supporters of the regime.

Promotion of negative sentiment
The deliberate promotion of negative sentiment on the gukurahundi genocide by some insensitive state media houses like the Sunday Mail, April 4, 2021 is also thorn in the flesh for the victims and the process itself. The publication in question carried a story by a Stephen Mugwagwa who infamously says that the gukurahundi genocide was justified. Annoying but unsurprisingly, the offensive article was given large acres of space, thereby exposing the sinister motive by the Sunday Mail and its enablers. The evil and idiotic writer and his dirty article are the microcosm of the larger world against the resolution of the gukurahundi genocide. This exposes the negative and malicious attitude of the government which seems to suggest that the genocide was a war and therefore the atrocities were justified. That is a dangerous and primitive approach to dealing with any genocide anywhere in the world. It is as provocative as Lucifer's love overtures. The lack of a sincere public conversation about gukurahundi in both print and visual state media is the gong-master's loudest message of vileness, lack of cultural decency and civility. This has set Mashonaland and Matabeleland views on the collision course with regard to the genocide as the former mock and disown it while the disempowered latter, feel the pain of incessantly scratched wounds. If the government has any iota of seriousness about resolving the gukurahundi genocide, it should discard such a swollen feet approach.
No admission of wrong-doing
It is sad and disorienting to note that although the government claims to want to have the gukurahundi challenge resolved, it has failed to admit to any wrong-doing. This suggests that it views itself as having done the right thing by abducting, maiming and murdering innocent civilians. Then, the million-dollar question is, what do they want victims to say about the genocide? Notably, the closest former president Robert Mugabe came to apologising was in July 1999 after the death of former vice president, Dr Joshua Nkomo, wherein he described gukurahundi as a "moment of madness". As mortal as he ordinarily was, he died without making any strong and direct admission of wrong-doing.  After the ouster of Mugabe through the "not-coup coup" in November 2017, there was a lot of hope raised that the so-called new dispensation would take a different course. Sadly, and annoyingly in one of the interviews abroad, the current ZANU PF president Mr Mnangagwa, refused to admit to any wrong-doing or simply to make an apology. To all and sundry, it became evident that after all, the current regime is actually the second round of the first one.

Amplification of the gukurahundi culture
The undercurrent amplification of the gukurahundi culture is catastrophic for the country as a whole. In a recent virtual meeting hosted by Ibhetshu Likazulu, one of the organisations demanding justice for the gukurahundi genocide, the guest speaker, Professor Jonathan Moyo, justifiably opined that the unresolved gukurahundi issue is manifest in current human rights abuses, abductions and disappearances. These include, but are not limited to, the arbitrary arrests of social activists and members of political parties like the MRP and MDC Alliance. He also argued that the 1st August 2018 shootings in Harare and the January 2019 abuses would not have occurred if the perpetrators of gukurahundi had been brought to book because it would have sent a strong warning to would-be perpetrators. In that regard, everyone needs not view gukurahundi as a vice whose brutal effect is will not only remain in Matabeleland and the Midlands. More so, in Matabeleland the amplification of the gukurahundi culture exposes itself in many forms such as the selective access to life-chances and opportunities.

Lack of desire to find the lasting solution
Obtrusively, there is an evident lack of the desire on the part of government to find the lasting solution to the genocide considering the way it indicates right only to turn left. This suggests that the process will never reach fruition because it is selfish, half-hearted, disrespectful and provocative.  This lame duck and wobbly approach to the genocide is a disaffecting tale of stitching the rear opening of the alimentary canal in a desperate, but futile bid to cure liquid diarrhoea. It will never work, not even in Mars!
Those who can, let them hear!

Nhlanhla Moses writes in his capacity as a gukurahundi survivor and can be contacted on:
+27 73 386 2303

Source - Nhlanhla Moses
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