In the early 1980’s, Mugabe unleashed a North Korean trained brigade of men upon the Matabele tribe in the South of Zimbabwe.
These men were trained killers and, once the insurgency stopped in 1987, it is estimated that between 20 and 30 thousand people were killed.
I was a young man at the time, a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police based in Essexvale (renamed Esigodini soon after independence) and then was transferred to Plumtree (the border town between Zimbabwe and Botswana) and again in Gwanda, within Matabeleland. All through my service in the ZRP, I was a prosecutor
in local courts.
The Gukurahundi never started with a bang – nor did it just begin overnight. The number of assaults, rapes, robberies and violent crimes began to climb and before we knew it, we were caught up in the horror of it all.
I finally left the ZRP in early 1985 – having served just over 4 years – as I was totally disillusioned at the response by the police to the onslaught (at the time, it was claimed that all of the crime was being perpetrated by the “dissidents” – Mugabe claimed that the unhappy former
ZIPRA combatants had deserted the army with the weapons and were the ones committing the crimes… it has been proved since that there were no more than a hundred of these ‘political malcontents’ and that the majority of them were killed in gunfights with the police/army) and the lack on any real intent to iron out this criminal behaviour. To put it in one simple sentence – the powers that be were orchestrating the violence.
With the signing of the peace accord between Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo in 1987, the killings stopped, and the Fifth Brigade was reportedly disbanded.
Fast forward to 2008.
Following the apparent political stalemate following the elections at the end of March, the country is still stuck with Robert Mugabe as the President and his illegally re-appointed cabinet – even though the
MDC won a majority in parliament and Mugabe lost the first round of the Presidential election.
Now we are seeing, and have done for quite a few weeks, reports of the violence that is being visited upon the ostensibly MDC-sympathetic people.
At the time of writing, the death toll is over 20 and shows no sign of dissipating any time soon.
We all know that Mugabe has close ties with the Chinese and, in all probability, has maintained his ties with the North Koreans.
Couple that with the fact that at least two of his current military junta have very close ties with the Fifth Brigade and their activities all those years ago (Constantine Chiwenga and Perence Shiri), I am of the belief that there is a current “Fifth Brigade” in existence (it will probably be under the guise of a different name), and that what we have seen in Zimbabwe is just a precursor to the real “Gukurahundi II”.
I was pleased to see that one internet newspaper picked up on this idea – and even published the sad picture of one of the slain MDC activists – incredibly sad in real terms – but a valuable shock tactic that is desperately needed to spur the free world to do something about the Mugabe problem.
I believe that we will be reading more and more articles which will have a sad hangover of the reports we used to hear and read during the Rhodesian war. Terror tactics, people being killed for fraternising with the enemy. And these reports will begin to flow thick and fast. The only difference being that the ‘enemy’ is the MDC as opposed to the Rhodesians.
This will lead to some sort of resistance and military equipping of the people – almost on a ‘must have’ basis rather than a political standpoint (although Mugabe will have us all believe it is a political stand) and the country will slip into a bloody, nasty civil war.
As the situation stands now, the advent of civil war looms large over the population.
You will recall from your knowledge of history that the first World War was precipitated by one shot – the shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Mugabe will push the envelope until, heaven forbid, that one of the resistance, in pure frustration, kills someone of some standing. This will be the catalyst that Mugabe wants – the excuse to send his troops in. Obviously with their heads filled of anti-MDC propaganda…
In the event that the events don’t go the way he wants, and instead a senior MDC person is killed, the troops will be still sent in – en masse – as Mugabe will use the perceived threat of retaliation as a springboard to start a real war.
By the time that the reluctant world reacts, the death toll will be high, adding to those who have died through starvation and an inability to secure required medication and medical services.
Zimbabwe is no longer circling the drain – it is sliding inexorably toward civil war – a war the Zimbabwean people, in particular, and the watching world, in general, could well do without.
Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man