National reconciliation continues to ride the air of political indecision in high places with the latest suggestion that second Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko has been assigned the daunting task of producing a good report in this regard.
Zanu PF believes there is need for national reconciliation involving people of Matabeleland and the rest of the country.
Terms of reference and scope of the exercise, the party believes, must therefore be determined by the Gukurahundi genocide of the 1980s which affected Matabeleland and part of the Midlands.
Focusing on Matabeleland and the Midlands as the only areas of interest is a tragic blunder on the part of the government and the ruling party because of the overwhelming evidence that national reconciliation must of necessity embrace the whole country.
It is not only the people of Matabeleland and the Midlands who have been aggrieved by Zanu PF’s clenched fist philosophy which tolerates no opposition. Tribe is no longer the limiting factor in the need for national reconciliation.
Zanu PF policy of coercion and violence has been applied in a proportionally disturbing manner and degree to members of the opposition in every corner of the country outside Matabeleland.
It does not auger well therefore for national reconciliation if the government continues to single out two regions of the country as villains and the only areas to be targeted for reconciliation.
When Zanu was formed in 1963 it called for Shona majority rule to isolate the people of Matabeleland.
Even as the country went to the polls in 1980 there were still surprisingly large numbers of people in Mashonaland who remained members of the nationalist Zapu party with 18 of its candidates in the eastern districts murdered in the weeks leading to polling day.
As the euphoria of being ruled by “the party of blood” began to wear off the people of Mashonaland broke the shackles of a one party state system to become members of the opposition, braving the slur of being called agents of neo-colonialism.
Many have paid with their lives in the post-1980 election period for daring to oppose the system to which they once belonged only through ethnic ties.
Zanu PF’s time-honoured myth that tribe is the only cohesive force in politics has been shown to be what it really is: Spurious belief with little appeal to democrats searching for true freedom.
This has forced the party to apply the only option open to it, the vicious “dog-eat-dog” foreign-inspired policy often adopted by all dictatorships.
Through this policy the people of Mashonaland have now been lumped together with the people of Matabeleland as enemies of the axis of tribalism, the three tribes that broke away from Zapu to form Zanu in 1963.
It goes without saying therefore that if you are talking about national reconciliation, and you want people to take you seriously, you must widen the scope to ensure that every corner of the country becomes part and parcel of reconciliation.
National reconciliation is nationally inclusive, not exclusive. For instance Zimbabweans have been led to believe that the white community in the country is expendable and should not be part of any national reconciliation exercise.
Those of this school of thought forget that the white community still owns most the business premises you see in every town and city of this country.
Even more important is the fact that we are going around with a beggar’s bowl trying to persuade creditors, the white community’s kith and kin, to cancel our debts and grant us new lines of credit!
Is the government not being a little naïve?
The trouble with Zanu PF is that the party has been married to coercion and violence for so long it sees no necessity to employ persuasion.
This is why Emmerson Mnangagwa, the second most important politician in the country, can stand before an election rally for his wife to tell the world that under his party’s rule its opponents risk being killed.
It is noteworthy that he was addressing a rally in a predominantly Shona speaking community.
The government has got its priorities back-to-front.
In May 1997 President Robert Mugabe used the occasion of the burial of national hero Stephen Vuma, to make one of the most dreadful and ghastly statements ever made by a head of State in living memory.
Denying charges that he was vengeful, Mugabe said about former Rhodesian leader Ian Smith: “If we go by the past, would Ian Smith be alive today? What cause will there be to impel us to keep him alive?
“Perhaps I will be the first to go and cut his throat and open up his belly, but no we shall never do that.”
This statement was reported by two State-owned newspapers, The Sunday Mail and The Sunday News. Was it because the party was forced by circumstances beyond its control to tolerate Smith?
It was an occasion that Mugabe made his now celebrated “moment of madness’ speech during which he urged Zimbabweans to forget the past.
“History should be a register that will remain as what never to do. If that was wrong and went against the sacred tenets of humanity we must never repeat, we must never oppress man.” Mugabe said.
Of course one can never forget that Smith was responsible for the death of tens of thousands of innocent Zimbabweans during the liberation war. Why was he not tried as a war criminal?
To prove that in Zimbabwe we do not go about cutting white people’s throats or opening up their bellies!
All we do is to send our troops to foreign countries to learn how to kill certain nationals in our cou
What crime has Morgan Tsvangirai and his supporters committed to have been subjected to the iron rod of the party of blood since 1999?
When Lord Soames arrived at Salisbury on 12 December 1979 to supervise transition to independence for Zimbabwe, he delivered a scathing insult against the people of Africa.
“I want to see the freest, fairest election in this country, but intimidation is rife and violence is rife. You must remember this is Africa. They (Africans) behave differently here.
“They think nothing of sticking poles up each other’s what-not and doing filthy, beastly things to each other. It does happen I’m afraid.
It’s a very wild thing, an election,” Lord Soames said.
This is the man who became Mugabe’s friend till death.
Can we blame Soames if he makes it sound as though doing filthy, beastly things to each other is a monopoly of Africans, especially when elections are indeed a wild thing in power-seeking?
It’s still disappointing though that we have as a leader someone who is not squeamish to talk about cutting throats and opening up other people’s bellies, even though in this case Ian Smith escaped a gruesome death.
What difference is there between sparing the man’s throat, but engaging in a reign of terror against one tribe and those who do not toe the line? Hasn’t all that education changed the man?
Email jkmaphenduka @gmail.com Cell 263772 332 404