Mugabe’s reconciliation, What reconciliation?
Once upon a time, President Robert Mugabe was the envy of many African leaders. He was the perfect African president African leaders were encouraged to emulate. Once upon a time, a very long time ago, our president, then Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, preached about reconciliation with the former colonizer.
After a bloody war that had sacrificed a lot of our people, it was such a noble decision, a decision the former enemy gladly accepted. The policy of reconciliation made the legendary leader a saint in the West. After that bloody liberation war, it was indeed a pat on the back for Price Charles, “Hey mate, what’s done is done. Let’s call it a truce and go bowling.”
Yes the policy of reconciliation, announced soon after the historic 1980 election, was a necessary and important for the country. The two warring factions of the black majority and the white minority agreed on peace for the sake of the country. One question that really bugles me is; was there a timeframe for on this reconciliation Mr. President? The other is was there really any reconciliation to begin with?
As a national policy, the concept of reconciliation was supposed to incorporate all the warring factions after the war and not only blacks and whites. It was meant to address the rising tensions that were erupting between the two former liberation armies, ZANLA and ZIPRA.
Mugabe’s reconciliation, what reconciliation if I may ask Mr. President? When the then PM Mugabe was out addressing the foreign media and diplomats in Harare and abroad, his lieutenants were busy devising a strategy to wipe-out all the Ndebele people in Matebeleland and Midlands. His close aide, Enos Nkala, particularly had a great hatred for Nkomo and ZAPU, a statement he constantly repeated and emphasized during the 1980s.
What reconciliation Mr. President were you talking about when you had your very own Shona troops trained specifically by the North Koreans on the best methods to kill and wipeout the people of Ndebele origin? Whilst our learned president was busy wining and dining with other statesmen at international conferences, the infamous North Korean trained 5th Brigade was busy terrorizing people in Matebeleland.
All this time internationally Mr. Mugabe was being seen as a beacon of hope with the policy of reconciliation as part of his many successful policies. Genocide was also occurring at the same time in Matebeleland. Preaching about peace whenever he was given a platform whilst on the other hand being the architect of a mass genocide best describes the policies of our president. Double standards is what we call it Mr. President. We are all aware of ZANU PF’s open involvement in the Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980s.
One wonders whether that policy of reconciliation was for all the people Zimbabwe? Maybe it was only meant for those defeated former white minorities. If it was for the whites only, then whatever happened to that reconciliation 20years later after independence?
One wonders if the overzealous, weapon-totting war veterans terrorizing white farmers, force-marching them off their farms was the expiration of Mugabe’s famed policy of reconciliation? These are the very same people who were the majority beneficiaries of the policy of reconciliation. Mr. President, was there any reconciliation to begin with?
The policy was a farce to begin with. It was meant to encompass all the warring forces after the war. It was for everyone, it was supposed to be for every Zimbabwean regardless of race, creed, culture or tribe. It would have been the best platform on which to begin to new state; Reconciliation for everyone. Everyone beginning on a new slate.
Even after that historic Unity Accord of 1987, the president never really revisited his policy of reconciliation to include the Ndebele, nor did he make an inquiry into the disturbances. The accord was just another pat on the back for Joshua Nkomo, “Hey Josh, sorry for your people man, it was my bad. Let’s just start over. How about the Vice Presidency for you? Aaaaw what a good lad.”
It is no wonder why any mentioning of Gukurahundi is considered a taboo here in Zimbabwe. Even the minister of the present-day policy of reconciliation, Minister in the Organ of National Healing and Reconciliation, Moses Mzila Ndlovu was arrested when he spoke about Gukurahundi. The topic is such a thorny issue that you cannot find it in Zimbabwe’s educational curriculum. ZANU (PF) does not want its own people to know what exactly occurred during the period 1980-1987. All we got to learn in school was a comment, in passing,of the disturbances in Matebeleland and Midlands. Nothing more, nothing less.
All this time since the “disturbances in Matebeleland and Midlands”, the Shona people were largely spared, apart from the few sacriced during Tekere’s ZUM. It was not until the creation of the Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999 when another monster was created. In the subsequent elections that followed till this day, anyone who supported or believed to be a member of the MDC became highly vulnerable to state-sponsored violence. March and June 2008 is a period that invokes the bitter memories of Gukurahundi.
Whilst hundreds of opposition activists perished as compared to the thousands lost during Gukurahundi, all these events have one common factor. They were all orchestrated by one man. Strategically created at Jongwe’s offices at ZANU (PF) headquarters, all these disturbanceshave been orchestrated by one man, who 32years ago, was a man globally known for his policy of reconciliation.
Is it that maybe, just maybe he was misquoted then? 32 years later, after taking the white people’s farms, he is now after their companies in the largely unpopular Indigenization and empowerment policy. This is all happening 32 years later when everyone thought that well, now blacks and whites can live peacefully and happily ever-after, after that largely famed policy of reconciliation. Maybe some played with Mr. President’s words then. Maybe it was the excitement of finally being free.
One thing that we all know is that Mugabe is living a life of double standards. Across Africa he is well known as a nationalist and model leader but is he really that? Only the Lord knows.