Victims of Gukurahundi will be turning in their mass graves

I was wrong. I thought that President Mugabe and ZANU-PF would rig the vote just enough to win – just enough to be ‘crediblish’. You’d think that I – and many others – would have learned by now. You should never underestimate Mugabe or ZANU-PF. And you should never believe that electoral thieves will be content with stealing ‘just enough’ to win – if they can, they will steal the whole bang shoot.

Including Matabeleland.

Richard Lee's picture

Author

Strategic communications for WWF

August 6th, 2013

I was wrong. I thought that President Mugabe and ZANU-PF would rig the vote just enough to win – just enough to be ‘crediblish’. You’d think that I – and many others – would have learned by now. You should never underestimate Mugabe or ZANU-PF. And you should never believe that electoral thieves will be content with stealing ‘just enough’ to win – if they can, they will steal the whole bang shoot.

Including Matabeleland.

In an election full of surprise results, ZANU-PF’s overwhelming victory in the overwhelmingly anti-ZANU-PF provinces of Matabeleland North and South stands out. Both provinces have voted consistently against ZANU-PF since independence, including voting across the board for the two MDC factions in recent polls.

But this time ZANU-PF won a clean sweep in Matabeleland South. And the majority of the seats in Matabeleland North.

It is a result that beggars belief because it suggests that the voters of Matabeleland have sided with the party behind the massacres of tens of thousands of their friends and loved ones in the 1980s during the infamous Gukurahundi campaign – when Mugabe’s government sent in the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade to deal with ‘secessionist elements’. The killings and other human rights abuses have never been addressed – and remain a festering wound.

It is the greatest stains on Zimbabwe’s post-independence history. A stain that the people of Matabeleland said they would never forget – let alone forgive. And yet we are meant to believe that they have suddenly turned round and voted for the party – and in many cases the individuals – behind the slaughter.

The victims will be turning in their graves. And as for their relatives – they must be in despair. Even though there was no chance of justice before, at least they could make their regular mark – by voting against ZANU-PF. But no longer.

Now they will be represented in parliament by members of the party that was responsible for Gukurahundi. Talk about rubbing salt into their wounds.

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