Mnangagwa should face Gukurahundi victims for resolution to genocide


About a year ago, a close cousin of mine committed suicide after repeated acts of adultery by her husband.

This was a most terrible and traumatizing experience for the family as we felt deeply aggrieved at such a needless loss of life due to a spouse’s unrepentant infidelity.

There was definitely a need for the responsible individual to seek resolution of this matter with us – in order for some kind of healing and mending of severely damaged relationships.

Fortunately, the cheating partner was wise enough to immediately acknowledge his wrongdoing, seek our forgiveness, and provide restitution for causing the death of our beloved relative.

As difficult and uncomfortable the proceedings were – on account of the understandable anger and grief on our part – we all, however, managed to reach an agreement.

Subsequently, our differences were ironed out, and we are all now trying to move forward – as much as the loss of our dear relative will take some considerable time to get over.

Be that as it may, the situation could have been much worse had my cousin’s husband failed or even downright refused to acknowledge his culpability in her death.

This would have rendered the entire healing process significantly harder, with the added risk of fomenting deep-seated resentment and anger towards him.

The most logical and practical solution was for him and the family to sit down, face-to-face, in resolving whatever issues were between us.

Mind you, this process to resolution took only a few days, regardless of the difficulties encountered – since this was never going to be an easy thing.

Nevertheless, had the husband not humbled himself before his late wife’s family, the pain and anguish between us could have lasted years or even decades.

As a matter of fact, it could have easily even developed into pure unadulterated hatred!

Where am I going with his story?

Well, this is more relevant during this time, when the country is commemorating the signing of the Unity Accord between ZANU-PF and PF-ZAPU on 22nd December 1987.

This was after the brutal ZANU-PF regime had callously massacred over 20,000 innocent unarmed civilians in the Midlands and Matebeleland provinces between 1982 and 1987.

The government deployed the dreaded North Korea trained 5th Brigade military detachment to unleash this murderous reign of terror.

These citizens were targeted solely on the basis of their ethnicity – due to their speaking the Ndebele language.

This is why Genocide Watch declared Gukurahundi a genocide in September 2009.

At that time, Robert Gabriel Mugabe was the prime minister, whilst the current president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa was security minister – placing the two at the forefront of these operations.

Over the past few years, Mnangagwa – after ousting Mugabe in a coup d’état in November 2017 – has attempted to portray himself as a ‘peacemaker’, seeking to find a lasting solution to this genocide.

This is truly well and good.

However, this is seemingly taking forever on account of a convoluted process that, quite frankly, appears not to be going anywhere.

In his Unity Day speech on 22nd December (to mark the signing of the Unity Accord), Mnangagwa reassured the nation of his government’s seriousness in addressing this contentious issue.

In fact, the information ministry permanent secretary Nick Ndavaningi Mangwana followed up this proclamation by alleging that local traditional leaders in the affected areas (the Midlands and Matebeleland provinces) had been provided necessarily resources for this undertaking.

Interestingly, these resources were made up of computers – for what purpose, I am not sure!

Maybe they are supposed to serve as record-keepers!

Nonetheless, having spent the past four or so years conducting so-called engagement meetings with various groups in the Midlands and Matebeleland region, why is it taking this long?

Why does it appear as if the Mnangagwa administration is deliberately going round and round in circles?

Are they trying to pull wool over the eyes of those affected by the genocide in an elaborate charade – pretending to be genuine in finding a lasting solution?

Surely, considering that some of those in the government and military during the cold-blooded massacres are still around – including Mnangagwa himself – should this matter not have been put to rest in a relatively short space of time?

What’s with the endless go-arounds?

As with the incident with my late cousin and her adulterous husband, a solution can be reached – as long as there is a sincere will.

Why is Mnangagwa – not only as having been a key player during this dark period but also the current president (representing the government) – not simply meeting face-to-face victims of the massacres?

Are we to seriously believe that he still has not established, over the past four years, who were affected directly and indirectly by the genocide?

Is he not able to get this information from local traditional leaders – who would know exactly which communities, families, and individuals suffered at the hands of the ZANU PF regime’s 5th Brigade?

I am quite convinced that a list can be on his desk within a week or two had he genuinely wanted the names.

After which, he would meet with them and then listen as they narrate their harrowing experiences – thereby, Mnangagwa asking for forgiveness and discussing appropriate restitution.

This is the most effective way to find a permanent resolution.

As a matter of fact, the only reason that something that occurred over 36 years ago is still haunting Zimbabwe today is because this process was never carried out.

If this had been done, those affected would have long begun healing.

The ZANU PF regime has never even acknowledged this as a genocide – opting to disingenuously trivialize this massacre as mere ‘disturbances’.

Mugabe actually had the audacity to characterize the period as a ‘moment of madness’.

Surely, how do those in power think the people affected feel in hearing all this mockery?

Nevertheless, at the rate everything is proceeding – with a government that is exhibiting all the signs of deception – there will never be any healing any time soon.

As the situation stands today, the list of victims is actually growing (not shrinking, in spite of some of those directly affected dying) – since their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are all aggrieved.

Who would not be, knowing that your parents, grandparents, or great grandparents were savagely butchered by their own government – which, disturbingly, remains in power and stubbornly unapologetic?

The Mnangagwa government now needs to show their genuineness in addressing Gukurahundi.

The longer they dilly-dally, whilst playing silly games, the deeper and more bitter the wounds of the affected become.

As a result, Zimbabwe will remain deeply divided – with a justifiably resentful and hateful significant portion of the population.

Is there then any wonder we have those calling for secession?

Instead of accusing them of being divisive, why not first understand and address their grievances?

● Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email:, or visit website:


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