A few hours ago, I was just going through articles that I had written over the past years – having embarked on this very long, torrid, and perilous journey in 1989, in Form Three, when I started contributing social justice writings for Kwekwe based newspapers, largely triggered by witnessing aspects of the Zimbabwe regime’s cold-hearted Gukurahundi massacres in my neighborhood, at the age of eleven years in 1984, and the rabid corruption that was slowly, but surely, collapsing our beloved country.
What I found rather worrying, though, was a long history of a very disturbing pattern by the country’s ruling elitist class, characterized by persistent denials, accusations, and deception – however, what immediately stood out for me, was the propensity to blame others for problems that were clearly entrenched within the ruling ZANU PF party itself.
What I noticed, much to my chagrin, was how the citing of an ‘illegal regime change’ plot has always been employed as villainous justification to unleash untold ruthless atrocities against innocent ordinary citizens, from as far ago as the dawn of an ‘independent’ Zimbabwe in 1980.
In fact, the genocide perpetrated by the regime against mainly Ndebele speaking people of the Matebeleland and Midlands provinces, between 1982 and 1987 – whereby, over 20,000 unarmed and defenceless men, women, and children were butchered in cold-blood by the North Korean trained 5th Brigade – was supposedly in response to a militant insurgency intended to effect ‘illegal regime change’, with apartheid South Africa, and former Rhodesians (white inhabitants of Zimbabwe during the colonial era), being fingered as the sponsors and planners.
However, as it turned out, according to various reports, not only were there actually less that a few hundred of these ‘dissidents’, but most of those identified were not even Ndebele, nor was there proof of any links with the accused entities.
Thus, what was the real motive behind the ruling junta’s brazen killing, maiming, raping, torturing, and arresting of the thousands upon thousands of Ndebele people?
Fast forward to the post-2000 years – after the formation of the opposition MDC party, in 1999, which nearly walloped the ruling party barely nine months later, during the June general elections – the same discredited ‘illegal regime change’ yarn was rekindled as an excuse to evoke its usual sadistic and abominable unrestrained murderous spree, especially after the then president Robert Gabriel Mugabe was defeated by the MDC’s Morgan Richard Tsvangirai in the 2008 presidential elections – whereby, the military, and party militias, were accused of slaughtering hundreds of the latter’s real and perceived supporters.
As I went through my articles, it was amazing how often Mugabe, and his party functionaries, appeared genuinely concerned by some foreign funded ‘illegal regime change’ agenda – planned with the willing assistance of so-called local ‘sellouts’, who always happened to be members of the opposition.
I am sure that, all those who would listen to Mugabe ranting and raving about these ‘foreign machinations’, at every platform he was afforded an opportunity to speak – be it, locally, or during international fora, such SADC (Southern Africa Development Community), AU (African Union), NAM (Non Aligned Movement), or UN (United Nations) – would have no difficulties, at all, believing that the old man, widely regarded as a nationalist Pan-Africanists revolutionary, was genuinely under siege from those not happy over the country’s independence.
However, events of 14 November 2017 should have caught all these people by surprise – if not shock – as it turned out that, those planning an ‘illegal regime change’ against the long-time iron fisted tyrant, were neither the opposition, nor ‘machinations by foreign countries’ – but, orchestrated right inside his own ZANU PF party, and by his own trusted right-hand men and women, whom he had held dearly for decades, ever since the days of the country’s liberation struggle.
The question comes up again, “So, why did all those innocent and defenceless opposition supporters die, lose their limps, had their homes burnt, abducted, sexually abused, tortured, and arrested on trumped up charges, usually bordering on treason – when the true agents of ‘illegal regime change’ were right under his (Mugabe’s) nose?”
We move on to the current tense and volatile situation in Zimbabwe – when the very same people, who hold the unenviable record of being the only ones to ever stage an ‘illegal regime change’ in all of the country’s history, through a coup d’etat, have resurrected all of Mugabe’s speeches, tirades, and repressive tendencies, under the pretext of fighting a ‘foreign sponsored illegal regime change plot’.
Over the recent past, there has been a worrying resurgence of reports of the trademark arrests, abductions, beatings up, torture, and sexual abuse of largely opposition, human rights, and labour activists, lawyers, and journalists – as well as vitriolic attacks on clergymen – accused of being agents of ‘foreign machinations’ for ‘illegal regime change’.
Without attempting to absolve anyone of any crime that they are being accused – as that would be mischievous and irresponsible, considering that, neither am I privy to their activities, nor have I knowledge of their real motives in their overt or covert operations – nonetheless, what is not a secret is that the Zimbabwe regime’s untrustworthy and dark past, does not inspire much confidence in these processes.
The people of Zimbabwe, and the rest of the world, have heard these accusations before – with the associated barbarous and savage regime response – only to discover that, there was not even a single shred of credible evidence against such individuals, and as it turned out, for all to see, the ‘illegal regime change machinations’ were nowhere in the opposition, nor civil society, nor the church – but, sitting right next to the country’s president.
As the people of Zimbabwe, who have endured four decades of relentless repression, brutality, and impoverishment, at the hands of this regime, we have had more than enough of these lame excuses being used to justify remorseless callous subjugation of those sincerely standing up, and speaking out, against these injustices – under the pretext of a country under attack from ‘terrorists’, ‘sellouts’, and ‘dark forces’, yet the real culprits could very well be sitting and dining with those in power.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. Please feel free to contact him on Whatsapp/Call: +263733399640 / +263715667700, or Calls Only: +263782283975 or email: email@example.com.