#Gukurahundi // series of massacres of #Ndebele civilians carried out by the #Zimbabwe National Army from early 1983 to late 1987

The Gukurahundi was a series of massacres of Ndebele civilians carried out by the Zimbabwe National Army from early 1983 to late 1987. It derives from a Shona language term which loosely translates to “the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains”.[6] During the Rhodesian Bush War two rival nationalist parties, Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), had emerged to challenge Rhodesia’s predominantly white government.[7] ZANU initially defined Gukurahundi as an ideological strategy aimed at carrying the war into major settlements and individual homesteads.[8] Following Mugabe’s ascension to power, his government remained threatened by “dissidents” – disgruntled former guerrillas and supporters of ZAPU.[4] ZANU recruited mainly from the majority Shona people, whereas the ZAPU had its greatest support among the minority Ndebele. In early 1983, the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade began a crackdown on dissidents in Matabeleland North, one of the homelands of the Ndebele. 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 20,000 people were killed.[9]



Zimbabwe: new documents claim to prove Mugabe ordered Gukurahundi killings | World news | The Guardian // From January 1983, a campaign of terror was waged against the Ndebele people in Matabeleland in western Zimbabwe. The so-called Gukurahundi massacres remain the darkest period in the country’s post-independence history, when more than 20,000 civilians were killed by Robert Mugabe’s feared Fifth Brigade. No one has accepted the blame for the violence, but the recent release of historical documents has shed new light on those responsible. The wide-ranging reports include diplomatic correspondence, intelligence assessments and raw intelligence garnered by spies recruited from within the Zimbabwean government. These papers – augmented by my investigations and the testimony of Zimbabwean witnesses – appear to substantiate what survivors and scholars have always suspected: Mugabe, then prime minister, was the prime architect of well-planned and systematically executed mass killings. The documents, which include recently declassified cables from the Australian high commission, reinforce the view that Gukurahundi – a Shona word for the spring rains that sweep away dry season chaff – was closely associated with Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party’s efforts to eliminate opposition groups after independence in 1980.

Op-Ed: Mnangagwa and the Gukurahundi – fact and fiction | Daily Maverick // This seems likely to become his stock defence. In effect, he claims that he was in charge of internal security, not military matters – and that the CIO had nothing to do with the Gukurahundi. It’s a weak defence that has no prospect of surviving closer scrutiny. But it does contain two grains of truth. The first is that the CIO was not the lead agency in the killings. The vast majority of civilian deaths were perpetrated by 5 Brigade. In the main, CIO officers were engaged in apprehending and interrogating alleged “dissidents”, armed bandits who were operating in Matabeleland and who were, according to Zanu (PF), coordinating an incipient rebellion against the government. Moreover, a significant segment of the CIO’s staff was physically excluded from 5 Brigade’s area of operations. The second grain of truth in Mnangagwa’s statement is that he (unintentionally) put his finger on the fact that the orchestration of the Gukurahundi was not overseen by one man. It was much broader than that. In this sense, the notion that Mnangagwa was the architect or mastermind of the killings is, indeed, false and thoroughly ahistorical.

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