Reparations case: Part six …reconciliation was never a Rhodesian idea


IN interfacing between transitional justice stakeholders and the official transitional justice processes in Zimbabwe, the fairest thing the National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) could do is to acknowledge that ‘reconciliation’ was never a Rhodesian idea.
Rhodesians have never accepted the idea of peaceful co-existence with black people.
The white missionaries, explorers and hunters who prepared the brutal occupation of Zimbabwe by their kith and kin did so in spite of the open hospitality of their trusting black hosts.
The NTJWG must find it shocking that Catholic Church even recommended genocide of all black people over the age of 14 as a way of subverting the black race to live solely to serve white interests.
The group must acknowledge that the Rhodesian Land Apportionment Act was not a measure of tolerance.
The group must also remember that in 1965, Ian Smith described the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) that excluded black people from participating in the governance of their fatherland as a victory of Christian civilisation.
The group must not forget that in 1976 Ian Smith declared to the world: “I do not believe in black majority rule ever in Rhodesia. Not in a thousand years!”
And, it did not matter to him and his racist kith and kin that his black victims were conversely declaring to the same world kuti what they were fighting were not white people, but the system.
The group is reminded of the late Cde Eddison Zvobgo’s description of the Chimoio massacre.
The national hero said: “Planes came in the morning and carried out such massacres; dropped para-troopers who then as ground forces ringed these two camps.
“And as these youngsters started running in all directions, they were bayoneted.
“I will never forget the site of the little kids at the school where the bombs were dropped with their pencils and papers outside and the little bodies scattered everywhere.
“It was so brutish it was incredible.
“They kill the sick!
“Dragging them from ambulances and beheading them.
“Can you imagine if 400 children were killed in London or New York.
“It would be a story never to forget.
“It would be everywhere.
“But no, it wasn’t given any publicity at all abroad.
“Maybe because it is black kids.
“Maybe because it is black women.”
The legal guru went on to describe how as ZANLA they could hit Princess Margaret Hospital knowing that everyone in there was white, but they had said to themselves that such an act would be barbaric and not belong to the 20th century.
It should not be difficult for the group to remember that at independence in 1980, it was the then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, whom Western media had maligned as ‘thoroughly evil’ and a terrorist who declared reconciliation when everyone least expected it.
After spending 11 years in illegal detention, after witnessing the ruthless massacres of one’s own kith and kin, the NTJWG must admit that it takes one with a real human heart to tell the world that he would forget it all and forgive the villains and sit on the same table and dine with them.
And how was the gesture received by the beneficiaries of such magnanimity?
The Rhodesian criminals snubbed the offer of reconciliation and peaceful co-existence!
They sabotaged Air Force of Zimbabwe war planes and a Zimbabwe National Army munitions dump and committed atrocities that saw the likes of Barry Bawden and Kevin Woods receiving death sentences from which they were eventually pardoned.
And, this was notwithstanding that countless of their own black victims in Rhodesia never received the same reprieve.
Again, the NTJWG should be reminded that one of the greatest collective achievements of black people in independent Zimbabwe was the December 22 Unity Accord that united ZANU and ZAPU to put an end to the post independence disturbances that threatened to take Zimbabwe apart.
If the NTJWG acknowledges this irrefutable fact, then it should not be difficult for them to admit that that African solution to an African problem is one which Rhodesians never accepted.
Notwithstanding that they had been forgiven of their own sins, it must be found surprising that it is former Selous Scouts, responsible for the grossest crimes against humanity in Rhodesia who have been singly responsible for consistently undermining the Unity Accord and the peace it brought for Zimbabweans.
And, such Rhodesians are the likes of David Coltart, Iain Kay, Eddie Cross and Roy Bennett.
The NTJWG must also recognise that it is the same Rhodesians like David Coltart who notwithstanding that their own mass murders of black people had been forgiven, remorselessly proceeded to campaign for illegal sanctions against their benefactors.
The NTJWG must fearlessly admit that it is the very same racially exclusive land tenure Coltart defended by genocidal force of arms in racist Rhodesia that he sought to restore through the duress of illegal sanctions after the compulsory acquisition and re-distribution of that land to the landless black majority.
What this means is that if the NTJWG is objective and sincere in its pledge to ‘interface between transitional justice stakeholders and the official transitional justice processes in Zimbabwe,’ then it must acknowledge all the foregoing facts as history that irrefutably identifies David Coltart, Iain Kay, Eddie Cross and Roy Bennett as the villains in Rhodesia, as well as the remorseless, ungrateful and undeserving beneficiaries of the tolerance of their erstwhile black victims in independent Zimbabwe.
In conclusion, it is recommended that while ‘interfacing between transitional justice stakeholders and the official transitional justice processes in Zimbabwe,’ the NTJWG must objectively let the history of the land define the villains, the victims as well as the due justice and reparations.
And, the informing principle should be that reconciliation should never be at the cost of the victim’s self-respect!
In our case, the Rhodesian villains must earn and deserve our forgiveness!


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