Gukurahundi Massacres: Memories Drenched in Blood

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By Lance Guma

Starting next week Nehanda Radio.com will run a series looking at the slaughter of an estimated 20 000 innocent civilians by Robert Mugabe’s crack 5th Brigade army unit in the Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces in the eighties.

The key men behind the Gukurahundi Massacres: Robert Mugabe (President), Emmerson Mnangagwa (then State Security Minister) and Perrence Shiri (then commander of the 5th Brigade).
The key men behind the Gukurahundi Massacres: Robert Mugabe (President), Emmerson Mnangagwa (then State Security Minister) and Perrence Shiri (then commander of the 5th Brigade).

Our justification for the series is that despite President Mugabe admitting this was a ‘moment of madness’ his regime has made no attempt to compensate the victims despite the occasional lip service towards election time.

Under the current shaky coalition government Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has already declared that those involved in the Gukurahundi Massacres and the deadly political violence of June 2008 will be prosecuted.

It’s as clear as a goat’s behind that Zanu PF, the dominant partner in the coalition and whose leader, cabinet ministers and loyal state security, army and police chiefs sanctioned those murders, will not allow this prosecution.

Last year Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa nicknamed ‘Butcher of Matabeleland’ for his brutal role as State Security Minister at the time, stunned Zimbabweans when he claimed Gukurahundi was a ‘closed chapter’.

“We don’t want to undermine efforts by our national leaders to reunite the people. If we try to open healed wounds by discussing such issues, we will be undermining and failing to recognise the statesmanship exhibited by President Mugabe and Dr Nkomo when they signed the unity accord in 1987,” he argued.

“The people who are very vocal on the Gukurahundi (Massacres) have selfish agendas that they are pushing. They want to divide the nation by making unfounded allegations,” Mnangagwa claimed.

Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba last year also told a journalist the genocide was now water under the bridge. He claimed Mugabe spoke with finality on the matter when he described it as a ‘moment of madness.’

“You are a crazy young man, hauna kunzwa here kuti (didn’t you hear) President Mugabe said it was a moment of madness, that is all I can tell you. That is a closed topic and people who want to talk about that era should know it.”

We don’t believe the murder of over 20 000 people can be declared ‘water under the bridge’ or a ‘closed chapter’ by the same people who committed the atrocities. We shall be shining a spotlight on who did what during that dark episode and hopefully put pressure for action to resolve this once and for all.

You can e-mail this journalist [email protected] or follow him on twitter @LanceGuma