Zimbabwe: Writer Says Gukurahundi Is Still Rife In Zimbabwe

By Novell Zwange – JOHANNESBURG – This year’s Jozi Book Fair held at the MuseumAfrica, in Newtown, South Africa attracted some hard-hitting writers. Among them is the now Pretoria-based Zimbabwean politician-turned writer, Ruyedzo Mutizwa, who launched his latest book, GUKURAHUNDI IDEOLOGY; WHY ZIMBABWE IS IN CRISIS ISBN 978.O.60.406178

5TH BRIGADE 1992His book launch in Johannesburg came on the heels of the banning of art paintings by another Zimbabwean artist, the Bulawayo-based Owen Maseko whose Gukurahundi Exhibition stirred a hornet’s.

Gukurahundi which means removal of chuff was a notorious operation by Zimbabwe’s 5th Brigade in the Matebeleland. The massacres by the North Korea-trained soldiers saw tens of thousands of Zimbabweans killed in the newly independent country’s most brutal atrocities.

Talking to Mutizwa leaves one charmed by his charisma and political skill. The soft-spoken writer struggles to conceal his feelings, and says gukurahundi ideology is still alive in Zimbabwe and gukarahundism must be stopped.

“As Zimbabweans we fail to find a common rallying point and this is also the same to us as political leaders. The gukurahundi  is not even new, it is prehistoric and we can trace it back to the days of our liberation struggle,” says Mutizwa.

He disagrees that Gukurahundi were atrocities committed by the 5th Brigade in the Matebeleland region alone, “How many headmasters were killed in Mashonaland for reasons such as being sellouts, witches and so on. All this was meant to send shockwaves to the people, which is why up to now ZANU PF still threatens about going back to war.” But Mtizwa maintains that “the countries who supported 5th brigade with arms, training and technical support must also account for their actions.”

“Zipra were a more disciplined force than ZANLA. In a war situation you get 30% truth the rest are lies.”

He dismisses the excuses that the Ndebeles deserved gukurahundi because they were the first to initiate acts of aggression against the Shonas in the prehistoric era when they made occasional raids against the shone tribes. ”There’s no bitterness among the Shonas about what

happened in the Ndebele raids period.”

As for the Ndebele people based in South Africa who are calling for self rule in the Matebeleland, Mutizwa has no kind words for them. “That’s complete madness. It is unfortunate that some people are thinking about such things at a point where by the rest of Africa is calling for a united Africa.’

Instead, Mutizwa suggests that a referendum must be carried out to hear if Zimbabweans are not interested in being part of South Africa. He says, “we strongly feel there is need to ask Zimbabweans if they want to be part of South Africa or not”

“In Zimbabwe there is an evil system which is worse than apartheid, and this is what the people are fighting. Zimbabweans were disenfranchised by colonialism, and Mugabe being the first leader to be elected by a majority vote  automatically became the paramount chief.”

In his new book Mutizwa says that, “Performance and production  are not priorities, consolidation of power at whatever cost is what gukurahundism is all about. Appointments to Government and quasi-Government institutions are based on loyalty and not on merit”

“At Government level a defacto Prime minister becomes the most important and powerful individual”

“Jonathan Moyo (former Minister of information) was a defacto Prime Minister, Enos Nkala, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Gideon Gono (Reserve Bank Governor), Chenjerai Hunzvi (Late war Veterans leader),  Joseph Chinotimba (war Vets leader), Phillip Chiyangwa (Business tycoon) were defacto Prime Ministers.”

But Mtizwa’s ascertation that ‘the CIO is an ill-equipped organization that lack furniture and stationery’ might be an understatement, and that ‘the organization has no capacity to maintain state security’ can be a misleading assessment, as it is a public fact that the intelligence organization remains a highly equipped and is a fully active security organ of the President Robert Mugabe-led government.

What fascinates about this book is the controversial topics it attempts to explore, for example the writer alleges that after the 1974 incident, at Chitombo Camp in Zambia, following the death of the nationalist leader Herbet Chitepo, “Tongogara, supported by Manyika used gukurahundism to overrun rebels who had studied Lenninsm and Marxism,” and that “Mugabe applied gukurahundism to deal with the Veshindi Karanga group who had resisted his leadership.”

“While stage-managed publicity exonerated ZANLA, the forces committed more atrocities than any other warring party,” he writes.

Mutizwa also claims that some of the war abductees and victims who were school children have now turned ‘psuedo-heroes’ of the liberation war.

He says the late nationalism firebrand, Josiah Tongogara, was the architect of gukurahundi and that he became a  victim to his own creation.

“Gukurahundism had to be spread to Matebeleland as the region had not been subjected to it during the war for independence,” Mutizwa says.

“Murambatsvina was a continuation of the Gukurahundi ideology, and that state Operations which had code-names such as Tasangana, Sunrise, Chikorokoza Chapera, were gukurahundism.”

The writer advocates for the disbandment of ZANU PF,  and he says that “the MDC-T uses falsehoods and counter accusations to make Zimbabweans sympathise with them so as to continue to give them much needed support. He says the gukurahundi ideologies have been embedded in the opposition.”

“With Gukurahundism, powers are centred on individuals. There is no MDC without Tsvangirai. He even made utterances to the effect that he held the keys to the MDC.”

“MDC websites, radios and newspapers are intolerant of other opposition parties ,” he writes.

Mutizwa says the country’s name must be replaced to that of The Republic of Guruhuswa, “The name Zimbabwe , in the Zimbabwe ruins, historically was a slave centre, and today Zimbabweans are slaves across the world.”