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Mnangagwa and the death of Gukurahundi as a campaign trump card

23 Jul 2023 at 08:31hrs | Views
DEVELOPMENT milestones achieved in the short stint of the Second Republic in the Matabeleland region have busted the opposition's political ideological bubble that was hollow of tangibles but inflated by the lack of engagement over the Gukurahundi episode.

Prior to the coming in of the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, the perceived marginalisation of certain areas was put hand in glove with the sad historical chapter and a number of opposition political parties, bare of manifestos that speak to people's concerns would feast on that.

The frigid relic of the emotive Gukurahundi episode has been brought forth several times holding the country captive to a dark historical epoch that has somehow been kept locked in the cabins as an emotional souvenir for political use at a convenient time by malevolent forces.

Mwalimu Julius Nyerere put it aptly when he said, "Those that are politically and intellectually bankrupt turn to ethnicity and religion as their major tool for mobilisation." The coming in of the Second Republic that lifted the lid on Gukurahundi and allowed people to talk about it while engaging traditional leaders for a resolution was somewhat a master-stroke on the opposition political parties that used to ride on it to launch their campaigns.

The life-changing development projects engaged by the Second Republic in the same communities that have seen them playing development catch-up became the icing on the cake. They have removed the country from under the cloud of political apprehension that had been weighing on since independence. Political analysts have lauded the engagements and the developments saying they have silenced those bent on sustaining the narrative as a campaign trump card.

Tsholotsho Rural District Council Chairperson Councillor Esau Siwela said the developments and the engagements with traditional leaders on Gukurahundi was evidence of the sincerity of President Mnangagwa's efforts to put a nail on the issue.

He said it was gratifying that Gukurahundi no longer features as prominent as it used to be in all the previous elections.

"I think we are witnessing the death of Gukurahundi as a campaign trump card by the opposition political parties where each time the country approaches election time, emotions would be whipped, old wounds opened anew to evoke, reawaken and conjure up a feeling of hatred that divide the country along ethnic lines. Besides engaging communities through traditional leaders on the issue, there are a good number of projects in the entire district that all shout sincerity on the part of the Second Republic. Schools, clinics, bridges, dams, roads have been brought to the community's doorsteps while Tsholotsho has been declared a town and we are going to witness its growth," said Clr Siwela.

He added that the district benefited from the mobile registration exercise carried out by the Government to give communities easy access to national documents such as birth certificates and national identity documents. Clr Siwela said prior to the coming in of the Second Republic, the lid was kept tight on the sad historical chapter and so was development.

The topic, he said, was not part of village gathering talk or kombi discussion. It was talked of in hushed voices and this had a dangerous net effect that people were forced to keep the pain and experiences to themselves where it manifested in tribal hatred as it was fermenting and imploding.

He said since the Second Republic under the tutelage of President Mnangagwa opened up a new chapter on the episode, it was now irrelevant to talk about it as people no longer wanted to listen to anyone talking about it other than the chiefs and the Government. The Tsholotsho RDC chairman said the opening up of the sad historical episode for deliberations at community and national level and the steps so far taken have taken the stamina off so many oppositional political parties and malefic forces that had taken Gukurahundi as their main campaign line to malign the country on ethnic lines.

Matabeleland North Minister for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Richard Moyo lauded the developments and the engagement saying they fly in the face of wayward opposition parties that used to use Gukurahundi as their political capital.

He said not only were engagements on Gukurahundi silencing opposition political parties in and outside the region, but the developments undertaken by the Second Republic were enough to take away the political verve off the imperialistic agents for change. He said the whole province now boasts of projects that have seen it getting in the fast lane in line with the Second Republic's development mantra of leaving no one and no place behind.

The Minister said Lake Gwayi-Shangani remained the flagship of the projects in Matabeleland North due to the magnificence of its importance and the time it had taken to materialise. He said by design of natural geography, the province had survived as a drought-prone one making it a livestock region, except for a few districts that have been doing crop farming with success.

He said the actualisation of Gwayi-Shangani and the envisioned greenbelt through a pipeline where 10  000has of land have been identified for irrigation was going to unlock the food security potential of the province and the communities were revelling in that hope.

"Capital projects such as Lake Gwayi-Shangani which is an important component of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP) were financed by the Second Republic and work is in progress. We are happy with the progress. It is slightly more than 70 percent complete and will go a long way in solving various provincial problems," said Minister Moyo.

In Lupane, he said aside from it growing as a provincial capital, the Second Republic had ensured that it benefits from state-of-the-art infrastructure that include the registry, the hospital, the university and a Government Complex in addition to various projects done under devolution that the communities have been benefiting from.

He said the lie that the province was not developing because of Gukurahundi got its exposure from the Second Republic's commitment towards development with Binga, Nkayi, Victoria Falls and Hwange having a number of development stories to tell under President Mnangagwa.

Previously, anti-government pressure groups and political parties, some of which don't even qualify the dignity of being called such as they could easily be defeated by a harem of old ladies in an election had coalesced around the Gukurahundi topic from where they sought to traduce the Government.

This was not done for free as the subject had become monetised. But the latest campaigns have seen the Government forcing the opposition and civic society's feet off the Gukurahundi pedal leaving them with little to say and exposing their ideological bankruptcy. He urged people not to allow themselves to be divided by opposition politicians and paid tribute to President Mnangagwa for his wisdom and push for unity through opening up the space for people to talk about the subject.

"His Excellency President Mnangagwa has opened up the democratic space and has encouraged our people to discuss freely and open up about Gukurahundi so that we can bring closure to this issue and build the country together. He has done that through romping in traditional leaders who have a critical and fundamental role to play in peace building and conflict resolution in the communities and it has worked magic," said Moyo.

Political analyst Dr Gift Gwindingwe said it was unfortunate that external influence was at play in the Gukurahundi discourse.

"They condemned it mildly on paper and pocketed it as a joker to use to divide and rule blacks in the hour of need. They had hijacked Gukurahundi to be a funded discourse under the veneer of human rights abuses but through the benefit of leadership wisdom, the Second Republic opened it up and provided solutions to it through working hard in those communities to bring them into equal development pedestal with other communities.

"The discourse had been hijacked by pseudo democrats and repackaged to entrench regionalism, to stall fruitful and non-emotional dialogue. But overall, the Second Republic should be lauded for closing out mercenaries that are funded from the West by openly engaging the affected communities to find each other and heal the wounds. The engagement of traditional leaders and all other important stakeholders is a positive step to unpack and iron out whatever the differences and to redress the situation," said Dr Gwindingwe.

Source - The Sunday News
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