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Gukurahundi was definitely genocide
05/01/2013 00:00:00
by Somerset Masikati
Definitely genocide ... Robert Mugabe

I AM persuaded to believe that "Mai Jukwa" is someone very close to the Zanu PF regime paid to sing for his or her supper whilst ensconced in the UK.

I make this conclusion based on the obsession with writing in a certain manner, the phony, contrived sense of nuance meant to hoodwink less intellectually alert readers and the otherwise consistent devotion to submitting postings to all stories on this website, including at odd hours with a view to shaping the direction of the discourse of subsequent postings.

That aside, I take great umbrage to Mai Jukwa’s opinion piece that appeared recently under the title “Gukurahundi was not genocide.” Your argument was not only naive but recklessly shallow.

You ought to have defined the term genocide so that any distinctions you were purporting to make based on "facts" would be easily followed. A motive is not a pre-requisite for the commission of genocide though the existence of one might help in understanding the context in which that crime is committed.

Robert Mugabe is certainly a prolific human rights abuser. When assessing the Gukurahundi episode, one will be better informed if they looked at Mugabe's behaviour not only during that period but for the past 32 years.

You state that "No political strategist under heaven would suggest you brutalise your opponents’ supporters in the hope that they vote for you in the next election. It is just plain silly". Well, which planet have you been living in for the past 32 years? Wasn't and isn't there "plain silliness" and brutalisation of political opponents in Mugabe's Zimbabwe today?

Weren't political opponents brutalised in the period April-June 2008? During the same period, didn't Robert Mugabe and those who support him expressly state that "A mere pen cannot defeat a bullet?” This is important as it clearly shows that Mugabe is politically intolerant and ruthless, has no respect for the ballot and is not afraid to use deadly force if he feels politically threatened.

You recently wrote an idiotic article saying Mugabe would win the next election? Presumably those brutalised in the period mentioned above have forgotten Mugabe's misdeeds and now love him dearly! You deftly place reliance on information from Western journalists gathered during Gukurahundi, but your narrative is undermined by the fact that there was a State of Emergency during this period and travel and access to information was heavily controlled by Mugabe.


It is a fact that most Western and African governments supported Mugabe and did not hold his actions to scrutiny during the killings. Can you address why Mugabe felt he had to place reliance on a militia cobbled up outside of the Constitutional structures and the Ministry of Defence Act when dealing with a conventional national security problem?

You deceitfully attempt to draw parallels between the actions of the American soldiers in their wars with the behaviour of Mugabe's barbaric militia. Your attempts are woeful and will not succeed as everybody knows that there is due process in America whilst there is none in Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

Thus, whilst the American soldiers involved in the despicable acts you cited were roundly castigated and prosecuted, in Mugabe's country such people are lauded as heroes and awarded accolades, hence Perence Shiri's current lofty position in the Army, despite having led the Fifth Brigade. Further, what happened to the "Chihambakwe Commission" and its findings?

There is impunity in our country where unsavoury characters like Joseph Chinotimba, Augustine Chihuri, Jabulani Sibanda, Douglas Nyikayaramba et al feel they are above the law.

During Gukurahundi, weren't Lookout Masuku and Dumiso Dabengwa repeatedly freed by the courts and get re-arrested again by Mugabe's regime? Why was it felt they merited this treatment? Were they dissidents? Were they a political threat to Mugabe despite belonging in the “minority Ndebele tribe” as you suggest?

Mai Jukwa, you have also failed to engage the question of proportionality, ie, even if there were dissidents, how many were they and was Mugabe's response proportionate to the threat posed by these dissidents?

In other words did the loss of life by a few white people/tourists in "magnanimous" Mugabe's nationalistic and predominantly black country justify the scale of his response and the terror and suffering people in Matabeleland suffered during this time? If Mugabe is as innocent as you suggest, why hasn't he, during the past 30 years, taken steps to make a full inquiry into what happened and preside over a genuine process of national healing?

Mugabe is a power hungry dictator given to wanting to retain power by all means necessary. Gukurahundi wasn't targeted at Ndebeles per se. It was targeted at Nkomo and his supporters. That those who suffered were predominantly Ndebeles is merely incidental and anecdotal and arises from the demographics of Nkomo's supporters.

Nkomo himself said as much during his widely-circulated interview with the BBC Panorama in 1985, which is available on YouTube. Mugabe has meted the same treatment to all political opponents since. It is his modus operandi. He holds an irrational fear towards political opponents.

His response is not shaped by how credible a threat a political opponent is towards him but by the mere fact that a political opponent dares oppose him and wants to displace him and usurp his power. The passage of time naturally increases the size of victims and makes relinquishing power untenable for fear of reprisals making the process "cyclical".

Once Mugabe dies, there is a risk that those in his "cabal" will also try to repeat this process. This is why we are stuck with him and the evil system that he has built. So yes, Mugabe committed genocide and the Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF), while misplaced, is a direct result of his actions.

Somerset Masikati is a Zimbabwean writing in own personal capacity.

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