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  • Writer's picturerutendo matinyarare


Updated: Nov 24, 2022


The “Gukurahundi Massacres” is a phrase driven by tribalism, ignorance and racist colonial propaganda.

That’s because Gukurahundi was a national war against tribal terrorists who were being sponsored by exRhodesians and the apartheid government (with the backing of the British and Americans who were protecting their investments in South Africa) to destabilize Zimbabwe in the same way MNR, UNITA and LLA were being used in Mozambique, Angola and Lesotho respectively.

Over time, consent has been manufactured around the narrative that Mugabe and Mnangagwa massacred Ndebele people with the intention of eliminating them through a Gukurahundi.

What is ironic though is, in Rwanda nearly a million Tutsis were wiped out by machete wielding militia in just seven months. However, people want us to believe that a well trained, professional and battle hardened Zimbabwean army with high tech weapons, jets, tanks, artillery, bombs, automatic weapons and biological agents intent on wiping out Ndebeles, only managed to kill a measly 20 000 unarmed Ndebeles in seven years and failed to wipe out the rest.

This is the same kind of fabrication that advances the notion that the ANC and MK had a relationship with ZAPU and not ZANU. Ignoring the fact that MK and the ANC were given bases in Zimbabwe by a Zanu government in spite of the South African apartheid government threatening to bomb Zimbabwe with nuclear weapons if Mugabe kept harboring ANC.

It’s also noted that in fact, a number of ZAPU and ZIPRA elements were being used by exRhodesians and the South African apartheid government to reveal ANC and MK safe houses for bombings, in the hope of discouraging the Zimbabwean government from harboring them. However, the Zimbabwean government continued to give the South African liberators safe haven till the end of apartheid.

This is why even though Joe Ggabi was murdered by assassins in Ashdown Park at his house in 1981. Many more assassinations targeted at ANC cadres would occur through out Zimbabwe but ANC and MK would maintain their bases in the country through out their struggle.

These assassinations are some of the reasons why Joe Modise is said to have detested Dumiso Dabengwa because he was alleged to have been involved in exposing ANC safe houses to the boers.

Some of these are facts that came out in the Truth and Reconciliation hearings in South Africa and they are facts that make it difficult for the government of Zimbabwe to release reports like the Chihambakwe and Dumbutshena reports.

Many of these reports have classified intelligence files implicating many senior ZAPU, Zanu and ANC politicians for collusion with the apartheid government and even the Russians during Gukurahundi.

Nevertheless, the fact we have to accept is that the executive decision to call for a national emergency to send our soldiers into Matebeland in 1993, followed by the Unity Accord in 1987, is the only reason Zimbabwe did not descend into being another failed African state embroiled in a protracted tribal conflict.

It’s also important to say that this Gukurahundi as its definition: removing the chuff, was the third of two previous Gukurahundis carried out by Zanla against an internal defecting group of youth called Nhari and another against Smith in the final leg of the liberation struggle.

The point I’m making here is contrary to racist rhetoric, Gukurahundi was not a tribal operation by Shonas to wipe out Ndebeles, but a metaphor to denote an operation to remove defectors, traitors and foreign invaders from the national body.

Now, unless people are suggesting that all Ndebeles were anti-government defectors, this operation could never have been against an entire tribe.

The reasons Gukurahundi happened were in part the Entumbane tribal massacres of non-Ndebele speaking people in Bulawayo by disgruntled Zipra elements who went door to door in Bulawayo townships, hunting for masvina and izinja (as shonas were called), murdering those who couldn’t speak Ndebele and then dumping their bodies in Magwegwe Dam.

Another was the 6000 ZIPRA soldiers who assembled at Gwaai River mine, deploying heavy military hardware like T32 tanks that ZIPRA leadership never deployed against Smith during the war, to attack Zanla camps and government installations in an attempt to overthrow the elected government.

Another was the attack on the Prime Minister’s state house in Bulawayo, the bombing of Inkomo barracks and Thornhill airbase by suspected ZAPU elements in cahoots with ex-Rhodesians and apartheid South African agents.

There was also the defection of ZIPRA forces from the army with their uniforms and guns to terrorize people in Matebeleland and foment a tribal conflict.

Then the arms caches found at Zipra farms all positioned at the entrances of major towns in Zimbabwe and the defection of some Zipra members into Baputotswana to be trained by boers as Super ZAPU or the Matebele Brigade.

These were all compelling factors that ignited a security crack down on unrelenting tribal terrorism.

There were acts of terrorism in Zimbabwe at that time and the government was obliged by the constitution of the time, to respond and protect the nation from this internal and external threat.

The fact that the defectors and those harboring them were mainly Ndebele, does not mean the government was targeting Ndebeles . It merely means the terrorists who government had to save the nation from were Ndebele.

And thank God we had a decisive leader like Robert Mugabe, to deal with the problem before it went out of hand like RENAMO in Mozambique, UNITA in Angola, LLA in Lesotho and the many other western sponsored rebels across the continent who broke many countries in Africa.

Finally, it’s only fitting to clearly articulate that there is no credible evidence that 20 000 Ndebeles died in Matebeleland during this period. But according to 5 independent international reports which include a CIA report, Lawyers Committee For Human Rights New York, Bulawayo Legal Project Center, Catholic Commission and Amnesty International, less than 2000 people of mixed ethnicity were killed mainly by the action of Super Zapu, a defecting ZAPU dissident faction, bandits, apartheid black ops agents, exRhodesians and response of government forces.

In fact, some of these reports say over a thousand of those people were killed by Super Zapu and others are suspected to have been killed by defecting Zipra members and RSA apartheid operatives posing as Zimbabwean government soldiers.

This was corroborated by confessions of apartheid operatives during the South African TRC, who admitted murdering white farmers and the missing English, Australian and American tourists in Matebeleland, then dumping their corpses down mine shafts to draw Mugabe to deploy his soldiers against Ndebeles.

Till today, no Ndebele person or institution has ever gone to open a case at the ICJ or the Human Rights Commission against Mugabe, his government or the leaders in charge of military or security operations in Matebeleland because there was never a massacre in Zimbabwe.

It is for this reason that there is no ruling against Mugabe or his government for perpetuating a genocide or crime against humanity upon Ndebeles by the UN Human Rights Commission because the Gukurahundi 20 000 massacres are a blatant fabrication.

That is the truth and it’s time Zimbabweans knew the truth and stopped allowing rumors to separate and divide our people in line with a misguided agenda of Mthwakazi separatists.

By Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare Chairman of ZASM and ZUAUWS.