It smacks of good sense and reasoning to be told to respect a human being who is responsible for 20,000 innocent victims of ethnic cleansing. Bishop Lazarus Mnangagwa’s hands are full of blood of innocent victims of Mathebeleland and Midlands and indeed in all other parts of the country. Do not ever think we have forgotten: in retrospect we have not forgotten: we want justice whether “your” to be respected Mnangagwa is dead or alive he will be tried one day. Not very long ago some Presidential hopeful: Nkosana Moyo told us at the glare of the cameras that Mnangagwa is smart! “I stand by my words” he said.
Please tell us if the following facts of history of Zimbabwe constitute smartness and deserves respect? Just in case you have forgotten: Mr. Lazarus Bishop and Dr. Nkosana Moyo; here are some of the details of what transpired between 1982 and 1987:
“Burning victims’ alive, Forcing villagers to dig their own graves and bury them alive
Trucking and burying victims alive in mine shafts, The use of any object to break the victims skull, Parading victims and shooting them before a forced audience, which is then butchered in similar fashion in turn, Lining victims in a single line, one behind the other facing one direction, and firing gunshots at the back of one victim’s head so that victims are killed simultaneously with a single bullet.
Torturing victims brutally and slowly until they died: Forcing victims to lie down on their backs staring into the sun and denying them water and food, Amputating victims hands and legs with axes and other bayonets to see how the foetus of a Ndebele so-called dissident looked like in its mother’s womb and then watching these women bleed to death.”
Tying up testicles of boys and men with a wire and then squeezing, pulling, beating and slicing them with bayonets until the victims bled to death, Group raping of young girls and women after which they had their genitals savagely cut open with bayonets and left to bleed to death: Starving of victims of food and water until they died in various notorious detention camps and also under the imposed chilling curfew which closed down shops and restricted virtually all movement
Butchering victims and then forcing survivors to eat the flesh of their dead loved ones including those of dead infants: Kidnappings and disappearances where people were taken from their homes from the streets, from schools and offices, from buses and trains and, also taken while grazing their livestock in the forests, and from many other places and were never seen alive or dead again.
The majority of the victims who met their deaths in the manner described above had been rounded up and transported either in a truck or forcibly marched to various killing fields at gun point. In various rural areas the common method employed was to match villagers from one village A to the next B where they would then be forced to dig their own graves and forcibly buried alive by people in village B.
Villagers in village B would then be forcibly marched to village C where the whole process of digging their own graves and having to be buried by villagers in village C re-enacted and continued. An example of this method of killing which took place on the 12th February 1983 in Gulalikabili village in the Tsholotsho district is noted in the electronic Mail and Guardian which derived its information from CCJP report;
“the whole village abducted from nearby to the Pumula mission area where they were beaten. Some were then forced to dig a mass grave, made to climb in and were shot. They were buried while still moving and villagers were made to dance on the grave and sing songs in praise of Zanu-PF. The number of dead given as 12.”
This method of forcibly marching and burying alive villagers from one village to the next was continued until various communities were annihilated from the face of the earth. There are many areas such as Tsholotsho where some village communities were completely wiped out by this chilling extermination method and it seem like an experimental game for the Fifth Brigade. Thousands of many other people were taken from buses at various road blocks while trying to flee the rural hinterlands into urban areas. Hundreds more were taken from the Plumtree bound train, at Fig tree and Marula. All these victims were never seen alive again.
The method of trucking victims to various killing fields was common in virtually all rural districts such as Tsholotsho, Lupane, Nkayi, Silobela, Gokwe, Plumtree, Gwanda, Filabusi, and Kezi. In Kezi many people were buried in mine shafts and caves particularly at the Antelope mine and in Bhalagwe hills. After visiting the Antelope Mine to investigate allegations about the disposal of bodies by the Fifth Brigade at a disused Antelope Mine Shaft following Mugabe’s “clean up” operations against “dissidents,” Peter Godwin, journalist with Sunday Times wrote in 1984:
“Every night “many weeks, I was told by local people, army trucks were seen driving to and from this shaft. Bodies were unloaded and thrown down the rectangular hole. Sometimes, the locals said, the corpses would snag on supporting iron girders across the shaft’s interior. On some nights the truck only made one trip, on others several. I leaned over the open shaft’s interior and peered into the darkness.
It was too far the bottom for me to see anything. But the stench hit me like a sledgehammer….At another mission, run by the Salvation Army, 15 miles away, staff had to plead with soldiers to allow hospital patients to remove their babies from their backs before being beaten…. But the worst stories of atrocities concern Bhalagwe itself. I was told that in the camp detainees have their wrists and ankles broken by being jumped over by soldiers in heavy boots. The hospital staff had treated more than 100 fractures caused this way since the curfew was imposed.
In Bulawayo itself thousands of people were rounded up in urban areas in Bulawayo especially during the cordon search in 1983. They were taken to mass detention camps which were located within and outside urban areas. Those people were never seen alive again. A queue system of butchering Ndebele people was employed. While some were being burnt to death, buried alive, or forcibly pushed into the mine shafts and caves, those next in the queue to be maimed were forced to sing, dance, ululate and praise Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF before being butchered themselves.
The neighbours and relatives were not allowed to bury their dead and anyone found to have buried their dead was immediately brutally maimed and shot. In addition to the atrocities that were meted on the people of Mathebeleland, the Fifth Brigade looted anything they could lay their hands on including livestock of both and survivors and the dead in Mathebeleland and Midlands. In 1984, Peter Godwin the Sunday Times journalist was shown the remains of the father of a survivor charred bones still lodged between two rocks of the hill:
“the soldiers gathered all the people of the area together for a compulsory rally. They made us shout government slogans and they beat many people with rifle butts – screaming at us the whole time – Where are the dissidents? They then selected three men at random, including my father, and took them behind the hill. We heard three shots and the soldiers returned alone. They warned us not to collect the bodies. They were left there for weeks and their rotting remains were eaten by dogs”
It was Mugabe’s policy of exterminating the people of Mathebeleland by starving them to death under an imposed curfew which was even deadly, given the crippling drought of the 1980s the worst ever to be experienced in Mathebeleland and midlands since the turn of the century. The people of Mathebeleland were depended not only on buying food from the shops but also on food aid donated by the international community.
The dusk to dawn curfew cut off food aid and closed down all the shops in these areas for many months in succession. Deaths by starvation were registered in many parts of the areas where Gugurahundi / Fifth Brigade solders were operating with impunity. Mugabe’s starvation policy was explained this way;
“First you will eat your chickens, then your goats, then your cattle, then your donkeys, then you will eat your children and finally you will the dissidents.”
In the district of Gwanda alone thousands of people faced death by starvation. The local Member of Parliament who also was injured by the Fifth Brigade commented:
“After three years of drought, those people have no food at all. They depend on the shops. The Government cut the supply of mealie meal overnight. It’s genocide as far as I am concerned…. People were living hand-to-mouth with the food from the shops. Now they closed. My conclusion is that those people are starving.”
The media in Zimbabwe supported and colluded with Governments when the most ghastly butchering despicable genocide was taking place in Zimbabwe.
The word Gugurahundi itself is a Shona word that describes a vicious hurricane that washes away and disposes or all the dirt, litter or rubbish in its path before the spring rains come. There is evidence on the ground that Zanu and its leader Robert Mugabe were on the urgency to make Zimbabwe a country for only Shona speaking people; there it was planned to rid of any other language speaking ethnics groupings in the area. Also it is not surprising that Robert Mugabe and his henchmen since independence have been aggressively implementing and practicing the philosophy underpinned in its special publication of 1979.
Dear Mr. Lazarus Bishop and Dr. Nkosana Moyo!
If the thirst for power, just to be the next leaders of Zimbabwe; just to be the next President of Zimbabwe, blinds you to even start to praise murderers: you can easily afford to ignore all that transpired in the Gugurahundi atrocities, then you are not supposed to be next president of Zimbabwe or ever any position of power in this country. There is a likelihood that you will be worse than what we have already witnessed. You are very dangerous people. The nation should know this that you should never be allowed to be near the office of the presidency by whatever way possible to us citizens.
It is not Gugurahundi alone: we have farm invasions that took thousands of lives. We have Operation Murambatsvina that claimed thousands of citizens of all ethnic groups. Mnangagwa was quoted saying verbatim: “Ndiko kutonga kwacho” We had the worst general elections that killed and maimed thousands in the country.
Should we still be respectful of the perpetrator not only of Gugurahundi but several other atrocities in the land that went unchallenged? Is a human being who kills murders thousands to be respected, he is smart? A Mondi that still goes scot-free without any accountability of their deeds, among them is Mnangagwa. Alone a word of regret or asking the nation to forgive them, they would not go so low! Instead we are asked to respect the murderer Mnangagwa: he is smart! It is not only insolent to ask the nation to still respect Mnangagwa: it is not only rude to tell us that Mnangagwa is smart: it is the absence basic humanness; the dignity of life in you is lacking seriously. Your academic education means nothing if you think you can ignore all that happened the past 37 years in Zimbabwe’s history.
We shall never know what happened to our Itai Dzamara. A man who orders the killing of Itai Dzamara is to be respected and he is smart! Zanu as we know it, our son perished. It turns the gut in the pit of the stomach; just take a minute to conjure a vision of how Itai Dzamara met his death. We are told to still respect Mnangagwa: and the learned Dr. Nkosana Moyo says he is a smart man! If you win elections, Dr. Nkosana Moyo in 2018; I think you will win, we are fearful of your rule starting from now in 2017. I am dead sure you will not read this article; it’s the power at stake that you are in for, you want to be president and at all cost: and not the lost lives, lost in most excruciating circumstances.