You know something is seriously wrong when the crusade for inaction on Gukurahundi atrocities threatens to overhaul our political culture, become the most active and loudest political movement within the Mthwakazi socio-political space. Who is sponsoring this crusade, who is talking, and on whose behalf?
As an onlooker, I take an interest in who is funding this intra-Mthwakazi quarrel that purposely downplays Gukurahundi atrocities? Evidently, we have a core set of Matabele elite and ordinary citizens on social media attempting to monopolise the right to speak in the name of Mthwakazi by labelling another set of Matabeles tribal and archaic for calling for the prosecution of Gukurahundi perpetrators and calling for reparations for the loss of life and revenue and indeed tempering with the future of Matabeleland.
Surely, one needs to have endured several formative years of nonsensical education to embrace it as reality; Gukurahundi was not ‘a moment of madness’ but an opportune moment for lunatics to act in their best interest. It was neither a mistake nor a fight against dissidents, it was a ‘grand plan’, a calculated establishment of ZANU PF authority in Matabeleland, and now we have Matabeles despising anyone who dares pursue justice for victims of that atrocity.
People are quite selective in the truth they are willing to accept. It is pitiful political correctness, if not cynicism, to deny the political significance of Gukurahundi today. Distorting and evading the issue by obscuring it in political jargon that seldom stands up to scrutiny is no way of dealing with the issue.
The denial of the need for reparations for Gukurahundi victims by some groups from Matabeleland might be closer to the Stockholm Syndrome, but it has neither historical nor political, and certainly no philosophical justification. Those calls are made by naïve and selfish beings whose only interests are temporary, at best. Many are paid agents of oppression whose livelihoods are heavily dependent on the suppression of truth.
Any attempt to deny us of the duty to call for justice for Gukurahundi victims is a denial of our right to act, and if we have no right to act we can as well accept whatever description and explanation ZANU PF gives of Gukurahundi. That is a position I and many others reject. As a people, we do not need another political campaign whose main objective is the denial and avoidance of our real problems. We need a crusade to reform and renew our political focus and systems.
When it comes to such mass murder as Gukurahundi, time is never the healer but undeterred justice is. We cannot talk of forgiveness when the perpetrator does not acknowledge the action as a crime but ‘…a (mere) moment of madness…’, and offers no apology for that moment of madness. In all honesty, and as already touched on in this article, Gukurahundi was intentional and a crime against humanity; it was a deliberate act of a paranoid State securing the rights of one population entity by the denial of rights to the other. It was an atrocious crime whose impact was felt through the breadth and depth of Mthwakazi, and is still being felt today.
That some Matabele nationals have, for both personal and political reasons, opted not to feel the Gukurahundi impact does not mean they were or are less impacted nor is it evidence of its absence.
Those within Mthwakazi denying any calls for action against Gukurahundi atrocities need to learn that problems are never solved by escaping but confronting them; peace will not be established by denial but by victory.
Far from a position of denial, our growth and strength will be drawn from being honest to ourselves and the Gukurahundi perpetrators and declaring that the pains of that episode remain raw today as the physical wounds suffered and witnessed by our kith and kin in 1983 and 1984.
To all Gukurahundi deniers, I say, ‘You can – to your peril – oppose reparations for Gukurahundi all you want, but you have to know the facts of that crime against humanity; you really do.’ We will not allow for Gukurahundi to be dismissed as just another past event to be consigned to the dustbin of history, and we will never succumb to the accusation that those of us calling for justice are stuck in the past, and are hindering progress. Real progress will only happen when we devout time to involve the Mthwakazi public in an objective discovery of the meaning of our past.