There were, at one time, at least two schools of thought about the tribal divide in Zimbabwe. The country has many tribes, but the two biggest are the Shona and the Ndebele. The Shona tribe are predominantly in the Harare area in the North of the country, whilst the Ndebele live in the Bulawayo area in the South of the country.
There is no love lost between the two tribes, and Mugabe once stated that the country would be better off if there was just six million Zimbabweans in the country, whilst another thought was that the country would be best split into two countries…
Whichever way you look at it, Mugabe is as divisive as ever.
And then mention the word ‘gukurahundi’ and see the fear in the eyes of the Ndebele.
The Gukurahundi was an operation carried out in the early to mid-1980s by specially trained soldiers in which the Ndebele tribe became a target to be wiped out without question. Between twenty and thirty thousand people perished in the period, and many of the missing have yet to be accounted for.
Mugabe put an end to the operation in 1987 when he signed a Peace Accord with ZAPU’s Joshua Nkomo, but has refused to apologise to the people of Southern Zimbabwe, claiming that it was a ‘moment of madness’.
Now factor in this article…
“Tensions between Zimbabwe’s two rival ethnic groups, the Shona and the Ndebele have reached boiling point. This follows the discovery of a secret document which calls for the continued marginalisation and oppression of minority ethnic groups in Matabeleland province.
The subversive document called Grand Plan Enhancement – “Operation Gukuradzviti” – a Shona word which means flush out the Ndebele, is being circulated among Shona-speaking company executives, bankers, business people and student organisations in Zimbabwe.
“As MDC, we would like to assure our sponsors that the real enemy is not the Shonas in ZANU PF but Ndebeles in both ZANU PF and the MDC. We will continue to strike fear in their hearts but we must do so underground. Ndebeles who challenge Shona domination must be eliminated,” says the document.
One of the MDC’s senior leaders and Minister for Water Resources, Samuel Siphepha Nkomo who is from the Ndebele tribe, denied his party is behind the document.
“I am positive this document was authored by ZANU PF or the secret service to try tarnish the image of the MDC which enjoys the support of the Ndebele communities of Matabeleland and Midlands provinces,” said Nkomo.
“We want every Ndebele to speak Shona and we will take their land and give it to the Shonas. Already we have succeeded in getting 70000 Shonas into Matabeleland to take over Ndebele land,” adds the document. It is codenamed Triple X – Xenogany, Xenomania and Xenophobia.
“When you read this document it reminds you how Hutus planned the massacres of Tutsis in Rwanda. It started with Hutus circulating such information to youths and the gangs to attack Tutsis,” said political activist Xolani Mabhena.”
Right now, a civil war in Zimbabwe would suit Mugabe down to the ground. With his waning support – contrary to his party’s claim – switching focus to a battle on the ground, Mugabe would be able to put his political fortunes on hold and perpetrate such violence upon the population that any opposition would be, at the very least, beaten into submission.
Obviously, the validity of the document remains questionable, only because pro-Mugabe authors are not about the admit the authorship of such a piece of hatefulness.
“Recently, war veterans from Bulawayo mobilised ZAPU youths and invaded some farms in the Nyamandlovu area and drove out the Shona settlers. But some of these settlers, who were allocated Ndebele land in the area, have started building their houses there. They say they did not confiscate the Ndebele land but it was given to them by the government.
“I come from Masvingo province. We were brought here by the government. So, if Ndebeles have a problem, they should solve it with the government, said one of the new settlers.
The document goes further to accuse former South African President Thabo Mbeki of trying to give Ndebeles power in Zimbabwe when he negotiated for the inclusion of Ndebele-dominated MDC faction into the coalition government.
It says current President Jacob Zuma is also proving dangerous to the Shona plans because of his links to the Ndebele. Zuma’s daughter Gugulethu is married to the son of Welshman Ncube, the powerful Ndebele politician. Ncube is hated by the Shonas for masterminding the split inside the MDC in 2005.”
Recent events have seen Ncube succeed Arthur Mutambara as the President of the smaller MDC faction.
Is it any wonder that Mugabe continues to virtually ignore Zuma?
Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man