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Of Joshua Nkomo and the raging fires of Matabeleland independence

16 Jul 2022 at 20:15hrs | Views
"The fly that does not heed advice follows the corpse to the grave", goes the Igbo proverb. MLO is happy that Matabeles refused to follow the Joshua Nkomo political corpse to the grave.

It must be stated here that Joshua Nkomo, the darling of Matabeleland, vibrant, eloquent, internationally recognised and respected leader of ZAPU and Commander in Chief of ZIPRA forces met his political demise on 22 December 1987 when he signed the Unity Accord with anti- Matabele genocidist Robert Mugabe.

Unfortunately, the loved and well supported political brand in Matabeleland, ZAPU and the well disciplined, well trained, well armed and feared ZIPRA were also swallowed on the same date and died a slow death in the belly of the beast.

Were it not for the fact that Matabeles were politically literate and more alert than Joshua Nkomo and ZAPU leadership, Matabele nation would have been totally destroyed physically and politically.

Matabeles refused to follow the the Joshua Nkomo political corpse to the grave in 1987. While Nkomo and a few people directly under his command went to Harare to enjoy political goodies offered by the new oppressors under the "oppression accord" called the Unity Accord, the majority Matabeles regrouped and restrategised to save the nation from destruction.

We do not support personal attacks on Nkomo's character. He was one of us and he will remain so. However, his failed political ideas and strategies that made him fall into the hands of his political enemies and put Matabele lives in danger must not only be attacked but thrown into the dustbin of history by all right thinking Matabeles.

Nkomo attempted to live in denial of two important facts which backfired so badly on him and to an extent, the people of Matabeleland. He denied that Matabeleland and Mashonaland were two separate entities which could not mix like oil and water. He denied that the tribal hatred of Shona supremacist leaders and Shona people in general towards Matabeles during the war of independence had reached boiling point and they could not even attempt to hide it.

There were many red flags that were raised to indicate that ZANU was playing dangerous politics and was hell bent on annihilating Matabeles from the face of earth.

The split of ZAPU on tribal lines in 1963 which saw the formation of a tribal liberation movement ZANU which immediately denounced him (Joshua Nkomo), ZAPU and Matabele people. The 1976 Mgagao massacre of more than 50 unarmed ZIPRA members by armed ZANLA members, the Morogoro clash, Intumbane clash and many others should have been an eye opener to Joshua Nkomo that something big and evil, instigated by ZANU, was about to happen.

1) According to former ZIPRA cadres and ZAPU members like Cde Nandinandi, Cde Mpiyezwe Churchill Guduza, Cde Akim Ndlovu, first ZIPRA commander, and many others, Joshua Nkomo suffered from Big Brother mentality. He could not take advice from anyone.

a) He went against Chief Khayisa's advice that he should abandon the idea of Zimbabwe nationalism and fight for Matabeleland statehood restoration due to Britain and ZANU suspicious political moves that saw Britain overtly assisting and abating ZANU to take over power in Rhodesia and install a Shona supremacist government.This way he became a heavy stumbling block to Matabeleland Independence and denied us freedom and opportunity to restore Matabeleland statehood.

 b) He turned down Ian Smith's advice to go for a two state solution under federalism which was far much better than the unitary state.

c) He abandoned Russia his main ally that trained and supplied ZPRA with arms. Russia, fearing that Nkomo was open to political deception and cheating by Britain and its puppet ZANU, it advised him to boycott the Lancaster Talks and continue fighting. But Nkomo ignored his biggest ally and planed to secretly attend the talks. After learning that Nkomo decided to attend the talks against their advice, the Russians invited him to at least come for a briefing session before proceeding to UK. Nkomo ignored them and went to the negotiating table with his team. Soon after that Russia and Chief Khayisa were proved to be right as Joshua Nkomo lost the 1980 elections whose votes were manipulated by Britain to deliver ZANU victory.

2) Acting single handely without consulting members of ZAPU, ZIPRA, allies and supporters that supplied him with weapons, Joshua Nkomo ordered for ZIPRA to be disarmed and all weapons surrendered to the Shona supremacist government of Zimbabwe. This is what the blood thirst Shona supremacists were waiting for. Realising that Matabeles were now vulnerable the Shona supremacist government deployed the Zimbabwe National Army 5th Brigade to commit a genocide in which more than 40 000 innocent unarmed Matabeles were dastardly murdered. This is one of the unforgivable political blunders made by Joshua Nkomo. It is at this point that Matabeles labelled him a sellout because only a traitor could do such things.

a) There are many video clips circulating on social media of him being interviewed by BBC News journalists where he flatly denied that the Shona government was killing innocent Matabele civilians. In some cases he claimed that Shona and Matabele were one tribe. The opportunity to tell the world the truth about the genocide that was taking place in Matabeleland was missed. Nkomo statements covered up for the genocidists to continue killing more and more Matabeles under media blackout. According to the former KGB agent who operated in Rhodesia during Zimbabwe struggle, Nkomo did not even bother to thank or show any appreciation for Russia's assistance. Even when the Shona supremacist government wanted to assassinate him, he strangly chose to seek refuge in Britain his political enemy than Russia his political ally. Out of all liberation organisations supported by Russia in Africa ZAPU under Joshua Nkomo was the only disapointment. All others are in power.

3) Nkomo signed the "oppression accord" called the Unity Accord after rejecting Matabeleland Independence and federalism which were better deals. Matabeles are still asking themselves what kind of a political leader would sign a document that placed one tribe to be superior than others and other tribes, his own supporters at that, to live as oppressed second class citizens not fit to occupy any high office in politics and any sector in the country for the rest of their lives. The Unity Accord allowed the Shona supremacists to sweep Matabeleland genocide under the carpet and to introduce the second phase of Matabele genocide through the Grand Plan of 1979. That is, to murder the identity of Matabeles, their culture, language and dignity. To tribally dominate and segregate Matabeles in politics, economics, employment and all spheres of life. Joshua Nkomo pretended as if all was well untill Matabeleland Liberation Organisation- MLO and other pro- Matabeleland independence organisations that came before and after it put pressure on the Shona supremacist government of Zimbabwe.

Knowing too well that the Unity Accord was a raw deal for Matabeleland, the Shona supremacist government sort of bored to pressure and offered another dubious deal called devolution and according to their constitution, the aim of devolution was to "prevent secession" of Matabeleland. They also abandoned their stance that the issue of Matabeleland genocide was resolved under the Unity Accord and came up with a new strategy to get rid of genocide evidence through digging up and reburying victims of Matabeleland genocide under the guise of resolving the issue. MLO is aware of all this. It will happen over our dead bodies.

We have no qualms with late Joshua Nkomo's person. But we have a big problem with his political ideas and strategies that put our lives in danger.

No one must come to us in Matabeleland bragging that they fought in a war that brought Zimbabwe idependependence. The Zimbabwe struggle produced the Shona supremacist government which is worse and far more cruel than the Rhodesia Government.

Matabeleland is not yet independent, Matabeles are yet to taste freedom.

We refuse to follow Joshua Nkomo political corpse to the grave. All his wrong political ideas and strategies must be thrown into the dustbin of history if Matabeleland is to make any progress.

Izenzo kungemazwi!

Israel Dube

MLO Secretary for Information and Public Affair

Source - Israel Dube
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