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My listening President, this woman is bleeding from inside!

16 Jun 2021 at 06:21hrs | Views
Change generally brings fears for the worst and hopes for the best and plays them against each other in the crucible of inescapable antagonism. The same is true for the scenario that unexpectedly befell Zimbabwe in November 2017 when you miraculously disposed of your long-time friend, the iron-fisted former Zimbabwe president, Robert Mugabe.  When you took over, Mr President, you assured us that you are the opposite of Mugabe. "Your suffering has gone", you told us in nursery rhyme style. In addition to having brought the "new dispensation", you declared that you are the "listening president" who is "as soft as wool". That is the president the woman without flesh is calling out to, today. The president who would attend to her wounds of the heart that was brutally bayonetted and mauled. This is the slain woman whose bones were disconnected and scattered. She has some kind of wound that does not heal. Even your prescription of tablets called "let bygones be bygones" is failing to eradicate her disease. She has a strange disease; a disease of the heart, of abuse, oozing blood, rape, murder, disappearance, death and decomposition. And her bones are speaking the mournful language for genuine redress.

The scattered bones
The scattered bones of the woman bitterly wail in the wilderness and seem to be heard only by the uncaring wind. The bones of the woman who was on her way to the borehole and never returned nor got buried by her children. She was mauled to death just like that, by those who claimed to be soldiers. Her children still await her return. Her bones cannot explain how it all happened. Rattling and helplessly hitting on each other, her dispersed bones speak a strange language, my President; the unequivocal language and signage of the rail-road crossing. These are the bones of the woman who was shot, knifed and her bowels ripped open. Her innocent intestines that came out of the stomach as she tragically died, still cry out in the wilderness. Protruding bones remain in the shallow grave that was hastily dug by the fearful ones who had to rush for safety and never expose themselves through any form of dignified mourning or funeral wake. Her children could not attend the dog-like burial. They still need closure, thirty-eight years on. Just to rebury the groaning bones that came about through "the moment of madness".

Hundreds of thousands of dry bones are rattling and wailing. They have not been mourned because weeping was banned, my listening President. And you have said that the live bones should now mourn freely. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted, our elders say. Why do those who want to shed tears for the woman who never returned, and for many others, still have to pay the ultimate price; the bill of harassment, abuse, death and decomposition? The payment of being called dissidents.

The dissident
The dark-burned bones of the other woman, those of her husband and the neighbour, and those of her mother- in-law are still shrieking and groaning in the obliterated remains of her hut in which they all burned and perished. They are wailing and helplessly requesting reburial. The living woman too, who lost her loved ones cannot sleep. She is unyieldingly asking for answers, my listening President. How can she sleep when the pain and trauma is incessantly digging into her lungs and intestines? When others go to bed, nearly four decades on, she watches the stars through her scantly thatched hut and painfully deals with the merciless piercing of the heart. These are some kinds of wounds that never heal, my "as soft as wool" President. The scars of the tender oval heart of the woman who died for allegedly being the wife of, or alleged supporter of what the soldiers said was a dissident which she ironically, had never seen or known. With unanswered questions, her bones cry for the new day. That new dawn when she can convene a funeral wake for her departed significant others, with her neighbours saying to her, "Langalezo!" She yearns for that moment of reflection on the death of her loved ones which she was denied by the government-gunmen. That sacred time which every family deserves, my listening President; the time of burial and reburial!  And you have promised and given her a new hope. The elusive hope of the child of olden days who would shout at the aeroplane and ask it to land at her family homestead notwithstanding that experience proved otherwise. Something that she cannot explicitly describe, devours and mutilates this woman, inside. She sees and fears that she will die before it is resolved. Leaving everything hanging and incomplete, just like that. But her listening President is there watching! Her children have questions; direct inquisitive questions that draw salty tears out of her ever-weeping eyes. How should she answer them, my good President? The children are traumatised and want answers. They have no birth certificates. The children of their children are inheriting it too. The woman who is grieving since 1983 sees the memory plaque that has the name of her "disappeared" husband. Hopeful expectation thrills her! Barbarously, the memory plaque is stolen. That savages her heart and raptures her weak veins and arteries. It kills her body and soul. But you say "let bygones be bygones", just like that.

A "bygones are bygones" case
Her hopes are being maliciously dashed by the behaviour of certain uncultured people, my listening President. These are the people whom you are yet to command to stop the barbaric behaviour. The weeping woman believes that you want the matter of her loss too, resolved. She knows you can do the right thing if you want. Now she heard you say that the demise of Mbuya Nehanda in the 1890s will never be a "bygones are bygones" case. Someone somewhere has to account for the hanging of the heroic mbuya. Those wise words encourage the woman who requests to mourn because her case is only as recent as the 1980s. Why should she be primitively harassed for wanting to find closure of the disappearance of the bones of her womb?

The unseen flesh and bones
This woman too, is burning inside. Her son was beaten and maimed right in front of her. She vividly remembers how badly injured he was when those with state guns took him away. On that fateful day, she clearly remembers her son's broken arm loosely hanging on his right side. That was at the climax of the beating by the soldiers who wore red berets, my listening President; black to black abuse and murder which Ian Smith had predicted. Now she realises that Ian, of long nose, was correct in his view. But it's too late, she says.

 Her only son requested the Korea-trained soldiers to kill him because he could no longer hold flesh and spirit together due to the battering. Without being told what his crime was, he was taken away and never returned. Tracks of blood, urine and other stuff, provided the cruel evidence of death and decomposition. The woman who bore the victim is crying to know where her son was buried or thrown, my listening President. Remember the situation you found yourself in during the time of the white man's rule. You remember nyaya iya of the train and other things? But you survived, my listening President. Perhaps, so that you could empathise with this woman and understand her pain because you went through similar pain that you told one of your interviewers, makes you "feel emotional". The pain of a near execution! And this woman's pain is of the real execution of her innocent son who was found sitting under the tree right in her homestead, without any railway line nearby, yet he was thumped and "disappeared" just like that.
The fact that she does not know where his body was taken too, consumes her even more. Multitudes of other women too, are seeking to mourn the same unknown fate of their sons and daughters. Little innocent souls taken too soon by the unfeeling ones! Can you believe that such cruelty could occur after the demise of the Smith regime, my listening President? How can a black man do such to another, after having fought racism together? The woman who lost her son wonders! The madness of the memorial plaque pierces her heart like a coward's spear. It makes the demise of her son timeless.

Memorial plaques stolen
The memorial plaques for mourning those slaughtered continue to be stolen, my listening President! The bleeding heart of the woman whose son was "disappeared" and possibly murdered is still oozing thick, red, endless blood. Do you realise that some people in this country will torment you even in death? I guess you agree with the grieving woman that this un-African culture should end.

The renewed hope of the woman who left her children and went to the borehole to fetch water and never returned, that of the woman whose son was maimed, taken away to an unknown hellish destination, that of the woman whose husband was killed in cold blood in front of his children, and many others who were either tortured, killed or buried in shallow mass graves, are maliciously dashed by the "theft" of memorial plaques.

The talking bones of the woman
The dry and live bones are talking. They speak the unequivocal language of the woman who is bleeding inside, demanding sacred mourning, justice and closure. Allow her rattling bones to crank your conscience. My "as soft as wool" President, this woman is bleeding inside for you to let the "moment of madness" genuinely give way to the real moment of sanity.

He who listens, let him hear!

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Source - Nhlanhla Moses
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