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Can we ever say what happened at Chimoio was a mere 'incident' - so why refer to Gukurahundi as simple 'disturbances'?

30 Aug 2022 at 05:42hrs | Views
Insensitivity is as evil as witchcraft!

At least, that is exactly how I feel.

How else can anyone describe any individuals who do not have a heart for the brutality, savagery and senseless destruction of human life that they unleashed upon an unarmed non-combative people?

It would have been horrendous and wicked enough even if these were the lives of only one, or two, or twenty, or a hundred innocent civilians - but, just imagine slaughtering in cold blood over 20,000 defenceless men, women and children!

Who does that?

What manner of a wild barbaric animal has the gull to massacre any other human being - let alone, tens of thousands of people, for no apparent reason, except pure hatred for their ethnicity and unadulterated evil?

Yet, at the end of it all, not only refusing to acknowledge the gravity of what transpired, but also making every effort in attempting to whitewash these undeniable atrocities, labeling them as mere 'disturbances'!

How does murdering over 20,000 mainly rural villagers, based on their ethnicity - who were never a security threat to the country - ever be said to be 'disturbances'?

Typically, 'disturbances' can be defined as, 'a noisy commotion that causes a hubbub or interruption'.

A fight breaking out in a bar over football results - whereby, one or two brawlers may end up having a cut on the forehead, and maybe a broken nose - is a disturbance.

We can even say what transpired in Nyatsime two months ago - when violent clashes erupted, after ruling ZANU PF supporters disrupted and hijacked slain Moreblessing Ali's funeral wake, thereby blocking her fellow CCC party colleagues from attending, resulting in skirmishes and the destruction of property in the area - were disturbances.

Nevertheless, no matter how creative we may want to be with the English language, or spin the killing of over 20,000 people, based on their ethnicity - there is no way under the sun this heinous act can ever be described as 'disturbances'.

Is this not a classic case of either ethnic cleansing, or pure genocide?

Maybe, such heartlessness should never really be surprising - considering that, had these brutal murderers not been so villainous, obviously they would not have butchered anyone, in the first place.

So, indeed, where would they find a place in their empty cold hearts to even admit what they did, and accept total responsibility?

I never cease to be exceedingly abhorred and repulsed at the reprehensible extremes that the Zimbabwe government is prepared to go in its efforts in covering up and trivializing its genocidal massacring of Ndebele-speaking people between 1983 and 1987, residing mainly in the Matebeleland and Midlands provinces.

This same insensitivity even compelled the country's justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to viciously object to the usage of the term 'genocide' - regardless of how apt and fitting it is - during his recent appearance before the International Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in Geneva Switzerland, on 18 August.

What I found so ironical, and indeed, unacceptably hypocritical, was,  considering that this was a meeting aimed at ending racial discrimination - how will Ziyambi, together with his comrades back home in Zimbabwe, feel if there were those who referred to what happened at Chimoio Camp, in Mozambique, on 23 November 1977 (whereby, an estimated 3,000 people, including ZANLA combatants and refugees fleeing the liberation war in then Rhodesia, were bombed by Rhodesian forces, in what was codenamed 'Operation Ding') - as simply an 'incident'?

Besides, is it still not fiercely debated what the camp was truly used for - did it house refugees (who should be protected under international law), or was it a military training base (which could be argued was a legitimate target in times of war)?

What ever this place was - any person with an iota of compassion, empathy and a beating heart would never seek to minimize the bombing of 3,000 people (or, whatever the number was - with some figures placing it at 1,600 women and 27 men).

The killing of one, is as horrid and harrowing as the murder of a million.

Nonetheless, this heinous and hideous attack has been known as the 'Chimoio Massacre' in post-independence Zimbabwe.

My question then is - if the ruthless bombing of 3,000 men and women can justifiably be called a 'massacre', on what grounds should the cold-blooded killing of over 20,000 ever be labeled 'disturbances'?

Let us also not forget that then Zimbabwe President, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, once unashamedly described this as a 'moment of madness' - going into his grave without ever conceding that anything wrong took place.

If the administration in Harare feels it normal on the continued use of 'disturbances' in reference to Gukurahundi, then we may as well find absolutely nothing amiss in calling what transpired in Mozambique in 1977, as the 'Chimoio incident'.

However, from where I stand, let no one dare distort history - and, let a spade be called a spade.

As such, Chimoio was undeniably a brazen massacre, and Gukurahundi an evil genocide (which is generally defined as 'the systematic killing of substantial numbers of people on the basis of their ethnicity, religion, or nationality').

Is that not exactly what happened?

In that way, we preserve the history of  our country - whether it paints a good picture, or is unflattering and exposes the vile demonic side of our leaders - since, those who do not learn from their past, tend to repeat it.
- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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