Why ignore atrocities before 1980?


OUR inevitable disagreement with Father Oskar Wermter is his unilateral attempt to impose the year 1980 as the cut off date on discussion about democratic practice or its deficit in the country.
We ask what criterion he used to determine such a date that deliberately excludes Ian Smith’s atrocities against blacks from public scrutiny and debate?
For example, the exhumation exercise at Chibondo Mine has not yet reached the bottom shafts yet the body count already exceeds a thousand! How can we sweep such brutality under the carpet to supposedly focus on the violations that we are said to have inflicted on ourselves after 1980?
And yet when we say we are being treated like this because Ian Smith was white and we are black, we are summarily labelled racist but is it not the truth?
There is a new group calling itself the National Transitional Justice Working Group in Zimbabwe that shares the same point of view with Fr Wermter — that it must be the violations committed after 1980 that should be investigated.
And it is led by a group of seemingly educated blacks, some of them lawyers and professors. The agenda that the National Transitional Justice Working Group is driving is not theirs, it is the white man’s effort to divert elsewhere attention and focus from the heinous atrocities that he committed against us.
National Transitional Justice Working Group might attempt to hide their malicious intention behind high sounding words and an innocent looking founding statement, no matter how much impartial they might attempt to look and sound: No victim from any period of Zimbabwe’s history is more important than another… as the group declares in its introductory remarks in the local press last week, it stands accused of deliberately excluding from scrutiny and debate atrocities committed by Ian Smith during his 15-year long rule. If they regarded human rights violations seriously, they would have included the period for investigation.
But the real tragedy is the poor blacks being used in this white-crafted but fairly straightforward political matrix. Everyone knows they are in it for the money but strangely, they want to be considered as heroes and patriots.
The war simplified issues; there was absolutely no confusion over definitions. Our coloniser was the enemy and he happened to be white. And anyone who collaborated with him was an enemy. We didn‘t suffer the same confusion as the Americans where yesterday they were supporting ISIL as a friend and today they are fighting it as an enemy.
Groups such as the NTJWG will continue to be created by our former colonisers to fulfil one primary function: to erase our story in our memory so that our former colonisers can rewrite our history. They will wily leave out the atrocities they committed and exaggerate those that we ‘allegedly’ committed, twisting and bending facts here and there, so that in the end, they emerge as sparkling heroes. If our former colonisers emerge as heroes in the story of our struggle to free ourselves from their bondage, who then were we fighting and to achieve what?
There are other ramifications from our former colonisers scattered around to elevate their status to become heroes. The International Criminal Court of Justice in The Hague (ICC) was established to bring to justice ‘errant’ African leaders or those from the former communist countries, never from the West. It’s not accidental that not one of their leaders has come to The Hague yet; it’s by design.
It’s quite possible in his naivety, Alec Muchadehama, the chairman of National Transitional Justice Working Group in Zimbabwe, will not be able to grasp this.


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