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Releasing Chihambakwe report key to honouring Joshua Nkomo

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By Trevor Ncube

Twenty-four years ago, politicians who caused Joshua Nkomo tremendous grief during his lifetime shed crocodile tears and speechified at his funeral. Their supporters joined in. Two weeks ago Zanu-PF and President Emmerson Mnangagwa abused the anniversary of Nkomo’s death to campaign in Bulilima District, an area that suffered the Gukurahundi savagery.

This opportunism, particularly from Mnangagwa is nauseating and an affront to common decency. After the November 2017 coup I was one of the first people to say “give Mnangagwa a chance” partly because I genuinely believed his proximity to Robert Mugabe had armed him with the wisdom and a conscience to right the wrongs of Mugabe’s rule – Gukurahundi in particular.

Six years later it is clear that Mnangagwa has no such lofty aspirations and learnt nothing from Mugabe’s errors. In my estimation he has exhausted all the public goodwill. Nation building is not a priority to him.

Mnangagwa has failed to lead from the front when it comes to Gukurahundi, nation healing and reconciliation. An important ingredient to reconciliation and healing is truth telling and contrition. None of that has been forthcoming from a leader who played a role in Gukurahundi.

Nkomo’s book, “The Story of my Life”, captures his anger and helplessness over the manner the likes of Mnangagwa humiliated him and made him run in circles trying to avoid the loss of innocent lives in Matabeleland and the Midlands.

Today Mnangagwa calls Nkomo a peacemaker and a passionate nation-builder and yet he has called him a sell-out before. In 1983 Mnangagwa described dissidents as “cockroaches” and the Fifth Brigade as the “DDT” brought in to eradicate them”. He said the Fifth Brigade had come to Matabeleland like fire “and in the process of cleansing the area of dissidents had also wiped out their supporters.”

As a born-again Christian l am all for forgiveness as this is a commandment from my God. None of us is without sin. Here I yield to the scriptures: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9-10 (NIV). And since an apology or contrition are not conditions to forgiveness, I long forgave Mnangagwa and all those responsible for Gukurahundi. Only God can deal with them.

But nation building requires Mnangagwa setting an example and coming clean. Mnangagwa has dealt with the Gukurahundi scandal, the nation and survivors as if he was an innocent bystander. He was not. He should have been leading from the front with a heart and attitude that reflects that his hands are far from clean on this matter. And a sense of urgency would help expedite resolving a national matter that has been outstanding for a long time. We have seen Mnangagwa fashion statutory instruments speedily for minor things, so he can work with speed if it suits him.

Releasing the Chihambakwe Report into the Gukurahundi massacres would be a good starting point to truth telling. Then the survivors would start the painful journey towards healing and forgiveness. Mnangagwa and the perpetrators of this heinous crime cannot dictate terms to the survivors.

While the graves of the Gukurahundi victims were still fresh, Mnangagwa opposed the publication of the Chihambakwe report arguing that it was “solely for use by the government” and it was “sensitive”. It does not appear that the victims and survivors have benefited from the report being kept a secret. Is it possible that refusing to publish the report is meant to protect the perpetrators?

Honouring Nkomo in words is good, but not enough. Those genuinely wanting to remember and honour him must push for the release of the Chihambakwe report and begin the process of exorcising the ghosts of this terrible chapter in our nation. Gukurahundi will not be swept under the carpet. Precious and innocent lives were lost and survivors need to hear someone say sorry, and do the right thing.

The lessons from Gukurahundi are huge. The violence with which this country was liberated contributed to Gukurahundi. Some of those responsible for Gukurahundi are responsible for recent political abductions, torture, murder and disappearances. The way Joshua Nkomo and Zapu were dealt with is the way the opposition has been dealt with ever since. How long will we allow this to continue?

In Conversation with Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa

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She is one of Zimbabwe’s celebrated Broadcast Journalists and Media Consultants. With her flair and tenacity, she has made her mark locally and regionally sharing platforms with movers and shakers of Africa such as President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. Ruvheneko Elsie Parirenyatwa takes us through her journey of being fired from a job she loved, overcoming her challenges and the pain of divorce and losing her twins. Watch her episode here..

Audience Responses

From the Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa episode, our community had this to say:

@tendaimaria1537:
Ruvheneko is such a breath of fresh air, she is such an inspiration, so confident yet so authentic. Trevor your interviewing skills are unmatched. Thank you
@1234fulTINO:
Honestly this has to be one of my favourites from this channel. The authenticity👌 Also, hearing Ruvhi’s story is inspiring, so good to see a Zimbabwean woman from this young generation breaking ceilings and taking up space, breaking stereotypes and asking the hard questions. #LeanIn
@marg86:
What an inspirational interview. She touched on so many delicate but important issues that people tend to shy away from. The lessons from her successes, loss and everything she’s been through are so real and relatable. It takes so much courage to be so vulnerable and yet at the same time imparting great lessons to us viewers. I am grateful I got to watch this.

Coming Next: In Conversation with Bishop Never Muparutsa

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Don’t miss the next episode with Bishop of Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe, President of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe Bishop Never Muparutsa In Conversation with Trevor.

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in conversation with trevorZimbabwean entrepreneur and newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube sits
down with various high-profile guests in a series of candid,
conversations that seeks to go beyond the headlines
and beyond the sensational.

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