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Will Mnangagwa ever learn, reform?

23 Oct 2022 at 17:19hrs | Views
IN terms of the constitution, Zimbabwe's 2023 general elections will be convened either in July or August. Already, it seems inevitable that the Gukurahundi genocide could turn out to be one of Matabeleland's key election issues.

In recent weeks, tensions have been rising in that part of the country where human rights defenders, political activists and downtrodden communities accuse the government of continuing to violate the rights of citizens with impunity. This past week, Zanu-PF thugs viciously assaulted opposition CCC legislator Jasmine Toffa, breaking both her arms. The criminals have not been arrested.

Meanwhile,Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa is busy telling the world that the government has embarked on a journey to "rebrand" Zimbabwe. Someone ought to remind her that there is no better advert for a country's authoritarian pedigree than the deployment of ruling party criminals to beat up opposition MPs. If an honourable legislator can be bashed in broad daylight by Zanu-PF cadres, can you begin to imagine what will happen to an unknown villager at the hands of these untouchable thugs?

The Zimbabwean government can pay millions of US dollars to public relations consultants in Washington DC, but no lobbyist under the sun can successfully deodorise the suffocating stench of an authoritarian kleptocracy.

In Matobo, ahead of a council by-election, Zanu-PF thugs violently assaulted CCC legislator Kucaca Phulu, stoned vehicles and disrobed female activists and community members.

A few hours after the Zanu-PF hoodlums attacked opposition CCC members and legislators in Matobo and Insiza, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was telling traditional chiefs in Matabeleland that he wants to redress the Gukurahundi genocide. But he conveniently made no mention of his party's ongoing reign of terror. Inevitably, questions arise: How genuine is Mnangagwa in ending Zanu-PF's genocidal politics? And as one of the chief perpetrators of the Gukurahundi genocide on the Ndebele people, how credible is President Mnangagwa when he postures as a latter-day arbiter?

Following the November 2017 military coup which toppled long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, many neutral political observers fervently implored Zimbabweans to exercise patience and give Mnangagwa a chance. But he has spectacularly squandered the outpouring of goodwill.

Anyone interested in understanding Mnangagwa's primitive school of politics should just look at the 1 August 2018 murder of unarmed civilians by soldiers on the streets of Harare.

The rampaging troops who shot and killed innocent civilians have not been prosecuted — four years on — with growing calls for justice falling on deaf ears. Despite appointing former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe to chair a commission of inquiry and make recommendations after the shootings which claimed six lives and left dozens others injured, President Mnangagwa has ignored the voice of reason, including calls for justice by the victims and their families.

There is no better indication of naked impunity; those who wield untramelled power in this country can massacre innocent civilians without repercussion.

This has been Zanu-PF's playback since Independence in 1980.

However, there are limits to deception. The world is demanding answers and Mnangagwa — one of the chief architects of the 1980s Gukurahundi atrocities — can no longer continue grandstanding.

Gukurahundi hogged the limelight at the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) summit, held in August in Geneva, Switzerland. The summit issued its report on Zimbabwe and other state parties on 30 August.

The world body's ICERD special committee issued far-reaching recommendations on the way forward for troubled Zimbabwe after expressing grave concerns on the situation obtaining in the country. Perhaps Zimbabwe's greatest tragedy is that its irresponsible leaders have failed to learn from the past.

The effect of the UN's concerns on the Gukurahundi genocide – among other issues — is diplomatic embarrassment for the Harare administration, which is hard-pressed to shake off its pariah tag and re-join the community of nations.

Genuine popularity has eluded Mnangagwa for decades, but he makes it worse for himself by resorting to hollow political posturing and gaslighting. Ahead of the 2018 general elections he made several promises to initiate decisive action in tackling the Gukurahundi genocide. As it turns out, he was merely politicking on the campaign trail.

Here is a man who was one of the leading perpetrators of the genocide. He should be taking decisive action to help bring closure to this tragic episode in the history of this republic. Instead, he blows hot and cold — depending on the direction of the political wind. And so, because Zimbabwe has been in perpetual election mode for four decades, nobody can conceivably believe what Mnangagwa says on this emotive matter.

Zimbabwe has paid a high price for Zanu-PF's genocidal politics.

Source - thenewshawks
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