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One Day in 1985





I watched and followed the proceedings at the launch of the CITES Documentary on the abduction of the 11 Silobela men by Government forces on the 1st of January 1985. Dispite the incident having happened 36 years ago to people I didn't even know and not even related to them, I sobbed. I sobbed because these were innocent people who had not committed any crime except that they were born Ndebele. I sobbed because these were fathers who had families who loved them dearly and benefitted from their hustles as bread winners. I sobbed because these were husbands who had to die and leave their wives widowed and miserable throughout their lives. Most significantly I sobbed in realising that their fate has neither been revealed nor those responsible for their fate held to account. As Siphosami Malunga accurately observed, because of the culture of impunity each time such dastardly acts are committed, the trend has sustained itself to the present day. In Zimbabwe if you kill in the name of Zanu-PF and its Government you're insulated from any liability. Gukurahundi remains a reality Matabeles face everyday. It can be revisited on them any day. Any ordinary Shona who wants to whip a dissenting Ndebele into line uses threats of Gukurahundi. In 2005 when the MDC split on tribal lines Morgan Tsvangirai remarked that he now understood why Robert Mugabe had to use Gukurahundi against Ndebeles because Gibson Sibanda and Welshman Ncube resisted his undemocratic propensities. Many others in the opposition today deny Gukurahundi in its full expression except to the extent that they can use it to win votes in Matabeleland against Zanu-PF. Many ordinary Shona people pride themselves in the efficiency of Zanu-PF Government in killing Ndebele civilians in thousands even on social media on a daily basis. I can even give names if I choose to. Shona people take pride in the history of their Government's Genocide against Matabeles. They are presently beneficiaries of that episode of our history. Gukurahundi defined Shona-Ndebele relations permanently in which Ndebeles accept a status of inferiority and embrace Shona domination with silent acquiescence. Ndebeles have been beaten into abject pusillanimity and enfeebled into speaking Shona as a language, appreciating their cultural domination in music and art as well as the weird etiquette in places of worship and funerals.

I applaud Zenzele Ndebele and his team for such a selfless and patriotic cause. I listened to the young man speak with such deep sincerity and sense of purpose about the subject that has divided Zimbabwe permanently. When brave deeds are sung and when brave men and women are mentioned, so shall Zanzele Ndebele's name. I was particularly touched when I realised that many people who gave testimonies in his documentaries have actually died in the past few years. These include Dumiso Dabengwa, Abraham Nkiwane, Velaphi Ncube and many others. Imagine the permanent loss of that memory on our history!!!

Siphosami Malunga as the Guest of Honour gave a fabulous speech from the heart. I thought about his present struggle with Government agents over Esidakeni Farm. I was actually amazed that he has always been in the thick of things in trying to find the truth even from the time of the compilation of "Breaking Silence" as a young university undergraduate at UZ. He urges that we as the victims must help the Government resolve the Gukurahundi issue but on our terms. I respect that. However, my worry is that it is impossible to force a reculcitrant Government in power which is guilty of a genocide to accept any deal on its murderous history based on the terms of the victims. Whatever conciliatory gestures that Emerson Mnangagwa has exhibited so far are driven by selfish objectives in which he wants his conscience soothed and liberated from that history of manslaughter. It will not be wise to help him achieve that. I am of the view that Matabeles must not rush to have the Gukurahundi issue resolved if they are not yet  politically empowered to have it resolved on their terms. What we need now is to build sufficient political muscle to allow us to dictate terms on the settlement of the issue. In Rwanda the Tutsi settled their genocide issue in their terms only when they had ascended to power. Fortunately they did not even seek to revenge. The country has been under a Tutsi government since 2000. The Jews, for the holocaust against them had to be compensated with the creation of new Jewish Sate of Israel. It is the only guarantee that another genocide won't befall them. How does Matabeleland hope to dictate the terms for the resolution of a genocide against them when the following conditions exist:

1. The Government that committed the genocide is still in power with direct perpetrators still in charge. We will be naive to think that the Gukurahundists will willingly accept a resolution that reverses the gains of that enterprise.

2. Matabeleland is still under siege. Other forms of Gukurahundi are still being executed up to this day. In bloodless forms Matabeles are still being murdered, raped and tortured in millions hence the depopulation of Matabeleland in whose vacuum the Government has sponsored a Shona immigration into the region.

3. Matabeles are still being excluded from accessing power, resources and opportunities.

4. The majority of the ordinary Shona population of Zimbabwe overtly or covertly supports Gukurahundi. This means it does not matter who takes over power in Zimbabwe, they all nurse Gukurahundi conspiracies against Matabeles.

5. The majority Shona people in the country all benefitted from Gukurahundi in Matabeleland hence today they can penetrate any part of the region and exploit, pillage and plunder resources and opportunities at the expense of locals.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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