Chamisa on Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina, land grab and other violent episodes

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By Mary Taruvinga

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa says the past 40 years of independence have yielded more pain than happiness for ordinary Zimbabweans.

He said this in an address to mark the country’s 40th independence anniversary which comes when the country is on a 21-day lockdown against the spread of Covid-19.

Chamisa said although some notable progress was achieved during the past 40 years, it remained evident that locals have endured untold suffering in the last two decades.

“On the national question, Zimbabweans are today more divided than they were at Independence in 1980, ” he said.

The opposition leader said the liberation struggle generation has failed to address the national question adding that a radical transformation by the next generation of leaders was necessary.

“It is also a tragic truth that the same two decades of commendable success witnessed the marginalisation parts of our country notably in the Matabeleland region where some 20 000 citizens were massacred with many more tortured while thousands were internally or eternally displaced amid untold destruction of livelihoods in what has come to be known as the Gukurahundi atrocities.

“Related to this, another tragic truth is that the last 20 years have witnessed wanton use of violence in our politics.”

He cited government’s violent land reform process as one violent episode that dominated the past 20 years.

Chamisa said while necessary, the anchoring of the process on racism was “unnecessary, unwarranted and unjustifiable”.

The opposition politician also listed Operation Murambatsvina and the “shocking violence in the 2008 Presidential runoff election, the August 1 2018 massacre of citizens in Harare which was repeated between 14 and 28 January 2019 across the country’s urban centres.”

He also said the 40 years of the country’s independence have shown ample evidence of the danger of extractive institutions which benefit only a few elites and their associates.

“The catalogue of corruption fills many pages. We do not have to look far. The blessing of Chiadzwa diamonds turned out to be a curse for the local community and the nation at large because of extractive institutions,” said Chamisa.

He added, “We have made some strides but we have also failed ourselves in a big way.”

He also said there was need for transformation in the country’s electoral politics to put an end to the era of disputed elections.