Gukurahundi killed 80,000: Eddie Cross

via Gukurahundi killed 80,000: Eddie Cross 27 August 2014

OPPOSTION MDC-T legislator, Eddie Cross, has claimed that the 1980’s government-sponsored Gukurahundi pogroms could have killed up to 80,000 people with probably five times that number displaced and driven into exile.

Human rights groups have all along estimated that at least 20,000 ethnic Ndebeles were killed in Matabeleland and the Midlands regions when then prime minister Robert Mugabe ordered a crack North Korea-trained military unit to crush a rebellion by former Zipra combatants.

A report by the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice (CCJP) said victims were buried alive while some pregnant women had their wombs slashed open.

But in an article entitled Mugabe’s Moments of Madness published on his AfricanHerd blog, Eddie Cross – a senior MDC-T official – claimed the death toll could have been much higher than initially estimated by rights groups.

“Based on listening to those affected and reading what little research has been done, I estimate that the number of deaths ran to many tens of thousands – perhaps as many as 80,000 people, with probably five times that number displaced and driven into exile – mainly to  South Africa,” writes Cross.

“The cruelty and suffering was indescribable – whole families burnt alive in their homes, armed men shooting people and throwing their bodies into mass graves and mine shafts, bayoneting women and using rape as a political tool.

“Mass deprivation of food and other basic essentials and services was commonplace and involved whole regions. The obvious objective was to crush the Zapu party and subjugate the Ndebele people.”

The killings only ended when Mugabe forced then rival Joshua Nkomo to join his Zanu PF party with the Unity Accord deal which was reached in 1987.

The findings of two probe committees established by Mugabe – the Chihambakwe and Dumbutshena commissions – were never made public and it remains unclear whether their recommendations were acted upon.

Mugabe has refused to apologise for the killings and only described them as a moment of madness.

The veteran leader has also ignored calls, some coming from his Zanu PF party, to deal with festering anger over the atrocities. Campaigners want authorities to help with practical problems which include children of the victims failing to get identity documents.

There is also little prospect that those responsible for the killings will be made accountable for their actions. Current air force chief, Perence Shiri, was in charge of the army’s Fifth Brigade when the campaign was launched.

Mugabe has described the conflict as a “moment of madness” but wants the 1987 Unity Accord to be the last word on the conflict.

His Zanu PF party dismisses opposition demands for redress as cynical attempts to use the sensitive subject to win votes in the Midlands and Matabeleland regions.

But the opposition parties warn that victims of the atrocities will not forget.

“You don’t forget until you talk,” said MDC-T Renewal Team interim chairperson Samuel Sipepa Nkomo in July this year.

“You talk to people in Tsholotsho, Kezi … who had their relatives put in a hut which was locked and doused with paraffin before being set ablaze; we can’t forget without talking. My own brother was killed by Gukurahundi. We can forgive, but will not forget.”

Marcellina Chikasha, the leader of the newly formed African Democratic Party (ADP) this week added: “I do not think calling it a moment of madness brings healing.

“ … people have not healed and the issue will have to be dealt with.”

Cross, meanwhile, said Gukurahundi marked the beginning of “mass social engineering” by Mugabe to “entrench (Zanu PF’s) grip on power at all costs”.

Similar programmes, he claimed, include the land reform programme which displaced hundreds of thousands of farm workers who could not be trusted to support Zanu PF.

In 2005, Mugabe’s government also unleashed Operation Murambatsvina which again targeted urban slums thought to be havens of opposition support, resulting in 700,000 people being affected, according to the United Nations.


  • comment-avatar
    Parangeta 8 years ago

    80,000 more reasons why Lucifer
    will be there to shake the
    ‘Great Nyasa Nyoka’s’ shriveled hand,
    at the Gates to Hell…..

  • comment-avatar
    Chaka 8 years ago

    Whatever strategies zanupf uses to try and wipe off Gukurawundi messacres, they won’t succeed. Our children have to learn it in history. We are passing it on to our children. They have to know Mnangagwa was part of the leadership. It’s so painful. Appreciating doctors for separating siamese twins but showing no remorse for 80 000 murders, just because they are Ndebele

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    avenger/revenger 8 years ago

    We don’t want ICC justice. Its nothing. We want mob justice mob justice mob justice !!!!!!!!!!

  • comment-avatar
    Reverend 8 years ago

    I cannot understand how any Ndebele can be a member of zanupf after what they did them. To me that is the worst kind of traitor to his people! How many Jews became nazis after the hollocaust??!! Makes me sick!

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    nyoni 8 years ago

    We will never forget the suffering these murderers have caused to all our people. We will not forget .

  • comment-avatar

    Mob justice leads to more mob jusctice.

    If we are going to learn anything and emerge from the darkness that enshrouds us as a Continent, it is the formation of institutions where the rule of law is paramount.

    ZANU is guilty of the atrocities in Matland as well as the insidious destruction of everything else in its path.
    To think villagers have resorted to repairing their own roads whilst the zanu chefs award themselves even more salary hikes, is obscene to say the least.

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    Straight Shooter 8 years ago

    There are issues Gukurahundi ZANU PF, Mugabe must explain:

    1. Who wrote the ZANU 1979 GRAND PLAN and for what purpose?

    2. Why much of ZANU PF politics since ZANU came into being appears to have been driven along Shona tribal interests, instead of national interests?

    3. The very reason for Gukurahundi should be explained? Dissidents were certainly not the reason since less than 300 are said to have surrendered after the 1987 unity deal, after which peace was restored?

  • comment-avatar
    Brian 8 years ago

    Tribal Africa still stuck in the retribution politics of say, 7th. century tribal Europe? Gukurahundi will never be investigated by the Hague because it happened before the Hague was inaugurated. RGM’s home free! Please deal in facts and know the law.

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    Tsolotso 8 years ago

    We will also not forget what the white man did to our ancestors. Chased Lobengula and killed him and his crew. Later lied to us that he disappeared. Idiots

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    One former air force murderer said that one day he and his fellow killers took a helicopter from the air base out side Gweru to hunt down dissidents in rural Gweru. Towards the end of thier shift with no dissident in sight, they decided to drop their bombs on women and children who were washing clothes on a river bank just because they did not wat to take the bombs back to base. ‘Might as well have some fun!!?’ When I was a temporary teacher my fellow temporary teacher friend told me that he witnessed his friend being tied to a tree and that AK bionet driven through his heart with all villagers watching. He never got over that experience. Eddy, perhaps 80 000 were murdered directly but how about those who subsequently died from loss of bread winner e.g? We recall that Mnangagwa was security minister then. The devil is still with us.

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    Rwendo 8 years ago

    What Cross has called “mass social engineering” others might call “subjugate and control by any means necessary.” Years later when the urban population outside Matabeleland turned against ZANU, we had Murambatsvina. In 2008 after “bhora musango” when the rural population followed suit and turned against Mugabe, we had the horror of the re-run, terror tactics focused mainly on the Mashonaland provinces.
    But with Gukurahundi, away from international eyes, using the presence of armed dissidents as a cover, we had Mugabe and a selected group of ZANU PF’s leadership at their most barbaric and brutal

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    farai 8 years ago

    eddie cross plucks a figure from the air suddenly its fact! zimbabwe is at peace and its obvious some amongst us would rather whip-up emotions to create conflict. Eddie find an OAP Home and expire peacefully and stop trying to divide in order to rule. it wont work again. One death is one death too many and can never be justified.