Chimoio 45 years later…

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HISTORY has often been described as ‘the whole series of past events connected with a particular person or thing’, while others simply say ‘it is the study of past events, especially in human affairs’. 

November 23 is a day we must never forget in our history as Zimbabweans. It is a day Rhodesians in particular committed a crime against humanity – a heinous crime they were never held accountable for to date. 

There was a genocide on November 23 1977 when Rhodesian forces murdered thousands of civilians including children at Chimoio, Mozambique in an operation codenamed ‘Dingo’. 

Survivors of this raid still bear the bitter memory. Many are still traumatised. Forty-five years later, there is still need for closure and 45 years later, we still demand the whiteman to be held accountable.

Rhodesians exposed their most evil side because when the Ian Smith regime unleashed its entire air force and ground force on Chimoio Camp that accommodated Zimbabweans, it was an attempt to wipe out ZANLA’s military headquarters, thereby delivering a crippling physical and morale-shattering blow to the liberation war.

The attack was meant to instil fear among the war liberators – a massacre in which thousands of innocent Zimbabweans perished. It was a merciless attack in which refugee camps and Chindunduma Camp, which housed children, were not spared either.

However, if the major intention of the attack was to discourage freedom fighters from carrying on with the war, the response proved otherwise.   

Instead, the liberation struggle was intensified, with more daring reprisals. Instead of cowering at the news of the brutal bombings, the masses back home were determined to avenge the Chimoio massacre. The morale of those whose kith and kin had been brutally murdered at Chimoio was not dampened as more volunteers deserted their homes to join the liberation war.

Indeed, the clear lesson from Chimoio is that a just cause cannot be suppressed by mere force, be it military or sanctions.

Yes, it is 45 years later after the Chimoio attack, but we still refer to this incident in order for our children in particular to understand our current situation.

We are under illegal sanctions which are as indiscriminate as the Chimoio bombs of 1977 because of the Land Reform Programme.

And what was wrong with redistributing the land when one section of society, who are the real owners, had been deprived of their possession?

When Smith massacred thousands at Chimoio, the West was lenient with him because he was their kind and type. They were united in their bid to stop a liberation movement from governing an independent Zimbabwe.

Smith tried to crush the liberation movements, and currently, the US and its allies are bent on dislodging from power, ZANU PF, the same liberation movement white settlers failed to cripple.

Forty-five years ago Smith failed to cripple sons and daughters of the soil despite his military might. In the same vein, why can’t the people’s resolve also witness the US and its Western allies meet the same fate, in spite of their economic might?

As we remember the Chimoio massacre, we must also remember those who were butchered at Nyadzonia, Tembwe, Mkushi and Freedom Camp, among other camps. There are tormented souls at Chimoio and we must do the right thing and that is to continue safeguarding Zimbabwe. Let us always remember that thousands paid the ultimate price for Zimbabwe.

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