Beginning in January , Mugabe waged a campaign of terror against the people in Matabeleland in the western part of the country. History of the Shona and Ndebele There have long been strong feelings between the majority Shona people of Zimbabwe and the Ndebele people in the south of the country. It dates back to the early s when the Ndebele were pushed from their traditional lands in what is now South Africa by the Zulu and Boer. The Ndebele arrived in what is now known as Matabeleland, and in turn pushed out or required tribute from the Shona living in the region. Both had emerged from the National Democratic Party in the early 60s.
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Many are unconvinced. In , Nqobizitha Mhlaleri was ten years old when a bloody massacre in western Zimbabwe destroyed his community and left him an orphan. They left a trail of disaster. I was told to lie face down…The next thing were gunshots and they left. When I went to check, I saw my husband in a pool of blood. He had been shot in the head. The Fifth Brigade, a military unit trained by the North Korean army, swept through provinces in Matebeleland and the Midlands, where ZAPU support — much of which came from the minority Ndebele people — derived.
From to , security forces targeted thousands of Ndebele with torture, detention and summary execution. An estimated 20, people were killed.
A moment of madness? This period of violence effectively ended in December when former President Mugabe and Nkomo signed the Unity Accord. In the following months, an amnesty was announced for both security forces and dissidents who had committed violations.
The Gukurahundi massacres ended but the underlying issues and impact of the chaos remained unresolved and unaddressed. Many Ndebele communities were left devastated and alone to cope with the trauma and loss, passing on the pain from generation to generation. There are still mass graves. There was never any compensation of victims. Beyond that, little has been done to atone for the widespread violence.
Many Ndebele still suffer from the wounds of the Gukurahundi, which were made even harder to bear when Mugabe was removed from office and replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa in November He is widely believed to have played a central role in the massacres. Perence Shiri is Agriculture Minister.
In March , for instance, he agreed to meet with representatives of the Matebeleleland Collective, a consortium of regional civil society organisations. For Jenny Williams, convener of the collective, the time was right to meet with the new government. That decision may have borne some fruit. In the weeks following the meeting, Mnangagwa appealed to Zimbabweans to talk freely about the massacres. The government also suggested plans to exhume and rebury victims, provide counselling and medical services, and issue documents to displaced survivors.
These moves have so far split opinion. Dr Dumisani Ngwenya, a member of the Matebeleleland Collective, is cautiously optimistic. For survivors like Nqobizitha, the lack of redress has made it hard to move on. He and thousands of others are still awaiting acknowledgement from the government, an apology and meaningful compensation. Either way, for many, the Gukurahundi massacres continue to loom over Zimbabwe 36 years after they began.
But on the other, some argue that the issue is about more than just one group; it strikes at the heart of the kind of nation Zimbabwe should be.
GUKURAHUNDI: US govt warns Mnangagwa's govt…As tensions between Zimbabwe and US rise
Viber The United States government has said failure to address the Gukurahundi issue continues to fan divisions in the country and feeds into animosity between the Shona and the Ndebele ethnic groups. The report noted that historical tension between the Shona majority and the Ndebele minority resulted in the marginalisation of the Ndebele by the Shona-dominated government. However, the report said, while ethnicism was a major issue in Zimbabwe, in , senior political leaders refrained from attacking each other along ethnic lines to consolidate support ahead of the by-elections. An estimated 20 people from the Matabeleland provinces and parts of the Midlands were killed during a pogrom that spanned four years between and President Emmerson Mnangagwa has refused to apologise for the killings, while his predecessor, the late Robert Mugabe called it a "moment of madness". Mnangagwa has made some overtures to create closure, but activists say this is meaningless without an acknowledgement nor an apology for the killings. Campaigners have demanded a truth and reconciliation process and reparations for the victims, while the government seems forging ahead with a much-criticised reburial process.
Causes Of Gukurahundi According To Obert Mpofu, Part Two
In addition, there were sporadic outbreaks of violence emanating from the guerrilla assembly points APs countrywide. Such outbreaks began before Independence and continued throughout the early s. The net result of the unstable situation was that by early , Zimbabwe had serious security problems in various parts of the country, particularly in the western half. The Government responded with a massive security clampdown on Matabeleland and parts of the Midlands. This was carried out mainly against unarmed civilians in those rural areas which traditionally supported ZAPU; it was also at times carried out against ZAPU supporters in urban areas. These units committed many human rights violations, which compounded the plight of civilians who were once more caught in the middle of a problem not of their own making. Rural civilians, the ZAPU leadership and the dissidents themselves all denied and continue to deny this allegation.
Gukurahundi: Can the man accused of opening the wounds heal them?
Jul 8, 27, Over the following two years, thousands of Ndebele were detained by government forces and either marched to reeducation camps or summarily executed. Although there are different estimates, the consensus of the International Association of Genocide Scholars is that more than 20, people were killed. Though these groups had a common origin they gradually grew apart, with the split away group, ZANU, recruiting mainly from the Shona regions, while ZAPU recruited mainly from Ndebele-speaking regions in the west. There is a much earlier source for Shona hostility to the Ndebele, going back to the arrival in of Mzilikazi and his Matabele followers. Mzilikazi carved out a territory for himself by fighting and dispossessing the local Shona, and this humiliation has not been forgotten by the Shona.