NOTE:THE WRITE UPS BELOW HAVE BEEN EXTRACTED FROM THE WEB AND IT HAS BEEN POINTED OUT TO ME THAT THERE ARE INCONSISTANCIES IN THE NUMBER OF VICTIMS REPORTED. As I did not do the write ups I cannot comment or alter the content.
In my personal view it will be almost impossible to know exactly how many people were murdered at that time due to the circumstances prevailing in Zimbabwe.
I personally use this information for reference only.
Crimes Against Humanity Zimbabwe (CAHZ) - Genocide (Gukurahundi)
While there are many cases of torture, murder, dispossession or forced removal that can be laid against the Zimbabwe government, one stands out as perhaps the worst case of brutality in the modern history of Southern Africa. Gukurahundi is Shona word for "the early rain which washes away the chaff before spring.
The chaff or hundi, remains after maize has been harvested. Less than a year after he came to power, Mugabe, signed a deal with the late Kim Il Sung in which the North Korean president agreed to send officers to Zimbabwe where they would train a special brigade which Mugabe said was needed to "combat malcontents".
However, there was very little unrest in Zimbabwe and most people were relieved that the war had ended. In August 1981, 106 North Koreans arrived at Nyanga on the Mozambican border where they set up camp.
In Parliament, opposition leader, Joshua Nkomo of the mainly Ndebele ZAPU, asked why Koreans were needed to train a special force when the country already had an excellent army and police service. He suggested Mugabe would use the troops to build a one party state. Mugabe's response was that, "dissidents should watch out."
After the civil war, both Mugabe's ZANLA and Nkomo's ZIPRA had access to hidden caches of weapons, but Nkomo had also moved lorries, tanks and thousands of weapons from his former base in Zambia, almost certainly with the knowledge of then Zambian president, Kenneth Kaunda, and had buried these on farms owned by ZIPRA near Bulawayo.
Fiery speeches against ZIPRA and ZAPU by ZANU-PF minister, Enos Nkala, led to armed battles between ZIPRA and ZANLA in Bulawayo and the army had to be called in to put down the unrest.
More than 300 people died in the fighting. The government asked Enoch Dumbutshena, former Chief Justice of Zimbabwe, to hold an inquiry into the uprising, but the findings have never been released.
Many ZIPRA soldiers who had been integrated with the national army defected after the violence, amid claims that some of their colleagues had disappeared without trace. They also alleged that ZANLA members were being favoured for promotion. Nkomo fled into exile, former ZAPU commanders Dumiso Dabengwa, Lookout Masuku were charged with treason, but although acquitted, they were detained for a further four years without trial.
Meanwhile, at Nyanga, former ZANLA soldiers continued to be trained until September 1982, when security minister, Sydney Sekeramayi announced that the new Fifth Brigade was ready for service. . Its first Commander was Colonel Perence Shiri, now head of the Zimbabwe Air Force.
Fifth Brigade was not truly part into the army, answering directly to Prime Minister Mugabe who was also minister of defence. They were despatched to Matabeleland and the Midlands province, where ZAPU dissidents had been murdering mostly white farmers. Once in the field, the new soldiers acted as judge, jury and executioner of anyone they suspected might be supporting ZAPU elements still at large.
Most of their operations were targeted at defenceless civilians, and, in April 1983 Mugabe said of the Matabele civilian population: "We eradicate them. We don't differentiate when we fight because we can't tell who is a dissident and who is not". Within weeks, Fifth Brigade had killed thousands of civilians, beaten and tortured thousands more, and burnt entire villages to the ground.
Most victims were shot or bayoneted in public executions, often after being forced to dig their own graves in front of family and friends The largest single slaughter took place on the banks of the Cewale River near Lupane, south of Victoria Falls on 5 March 1983 when killing 124 young men and women were machine-gunned : 62 died immediately, 55 died from injuries and seven survived with bullet wounds.
Another method widely used by Fifth Brigade was to lock families in their grass huts and set the thatch alight, a method used by ZANLA on Shona civilians during the civil war in villages which were believed to be helping the government.
In other places, hundreds, of civilians would be rounded up and marched at gunpoint to a school or water point. There they would be beaten, burned or raped, and forced to sing Shona songs praising Mugabe. The meetings usually ended with public executions.
The actions falls clearly into the United Nations and ICC definition of genocide. There are those, like Lt Col Lionel Dyke, commander of paratroops unit which also operated alongside Fifth Brigade, who defend Gukurahundi. According to Dyke - who features in several torture transcripts held by CAHZ, the action "brought peace very, very quickly." To make things worse for the Matabele, Mugabe had sections of the province sealed off from vehicle traffic and deliveries of food and medicine.
Crops were burned, shops and clinics closed down and a population of around three million people faced death by starvation. With his homeland under siege, Joshua Nkomo signed a "Unity Accord" on 22 of December 1987 merging ZAPU with ZANU-PF. Between April and June 1988, Mugabe signed a number of amnesty bills which pardoned all dissidents and the members of Fifth Brigade and other units which had participated in the genocide.
Gukurahundi was over, but villagers were barred from opening the mass graves and, to date, there is no clear account of what happened in Matabeleland, except that somewhere between 10 000 and 40 000 people, mostly civilians, were killed.
CAHZ is campaigning to have Gukurahundi officially recognised as Genocide and we are compiling evidence for the eventual trial of, among others:
President Robert Mugabe
Lt Col (now Air Marshal) Perence Shire
Emerson Mnangagwa (minister for security over part of the period)
Sydney Sekeremayi (minister for security over part of the period)
Lt Col Lionel Dyke (ret), commander of parachute battalion who participated in several acts of torture.
If you have any evidence against these people, we ask you to please come forward, either publicly or in confidence. Nazi war criminals were hunted into their nineties in an effort to bring some late justice to people murdered in Hitler's Germany and we intend to pursue the architects and perpetrators of Gukurahundi with the same vigour.
More on Dyke by David Coltard
The Zimbabwe Times
September 8, 2008
THE campaign pitch of President Robert Mugabe in recent elections has been consistent.Since the electorate shocked him out of deepening complacency in the aftermath of the constitutional referendum held back in February 2000 Mugabe has sought to portray himself as a patriot, while presenting his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, as nothing more than a groveling puppet of the West.
Mugabe and the former ruling Zanu-PF have paraded themselves as paragons of post-colonial political virtue, while dismissing those who oppose them as shameless sell-outs, permanently at the beck and call of a dispossessed white farming community and a Western world seeking to re-colonise Zimbabwe.
In the world of make-believe painted by Mugabe and his surrogates at Zanu-PF campaign rallies, political correctness entails having nothing or as little as possible to do with white people especially those of Zimbabwean commercial farming stock or with the representatives, even accredited diplomats, of Western nations, particularly the United Kingdom, the United States or Australia.
This essentially racist posturing was evolved and fine-tuned in the period after the 2000 referendum, when it suddenly dawned on the Zanu-PF leadership that they no longer enjoyed the fawning support and unquestioning loyalty of the Zimbabwean electorate.
Evidence abounds, however, that Mugabe’s and Zanu-PF’s racist pretensions are based on a false premise and shrouded in hypocrisy and double-speak. Zanu-PF has thus continued to delude both itself and party loyalists over the years simply because its rivals in the MDC have somehow allowed the party to get away with what essentially amounts to telling two self-serving falsehoods.
Mugabe in the early days of Zimbabwe’s independence basked in the glory of overstated Western adulation, while Zimbabwe benefited from the backing and support of a Western world anxious to support a government they somehow believed would constitute a departure from the African post-independence stereotype of corruption, economic mismanagement, lawlessness and abuse of civic rights. Aid funds poured into Africa’s newest nation while Mugabe was toasted in Western capitals. A knighthood was conferred on him by Queen Elizabeth the Second at Buckingham Palace while members of the Zanu-PF Women’s League ululated in Harare. A number of universities on both sides of the Atlantic recognised him through honorary degrees.
The first lie is that Western nations are natural enemies of Zimbabwe.
The second falsehood, more significantly, is that Zanu-PF hates while people. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, Zanu-PF has built a strategic circle of its own white friends over the years. Not only does Zanu-PF have dealings and cordial relations with its white allies; the people concerned are in most cases capitalist entrepreneurs who have prospered magnificently in Zimbabwe through their association with the ruling elite. Some prosper through exploiting the very people Zanu-PF pretends to protect.
Back in 1980 Mugabe went out of his way to prove to an anxious world that he was more than willing to abide by the non-racist tenets of his party’s first election manifesto.
Zanu-PF’s election manifesto stated categorically: “Zanu wishes to give the fullest assurance to the white community, the Asian and coloured communities that a Zanu government can never in principle or in social or government practice, discriminate against them. Racism, whether practiced by whites or blacks, is anathema to the humanitarian philosophy of Zanu. It is as primitive a dogma as tribalism or regionalism.”
The Zanu-PF of today publicly castigates and demonizes opponents such as the MDC who espouse similar non-racist policies and openly engage with members of the white community, branding them as enemies of the people and as puppets of the West.
Surprisingly, supporters both in and out of the country who hailed Mugabe for his former concern for the welfare of the ordinary man and his policy of national reconciliation, still glorify him long after he abandoned both the concern and the policy and now constantly spouts racist diatribe without the mandate of the majority of his people to do so.
But then to a considerable extent Mugabe and his acolytes depend for their survival on the existence of powerful white supporters who manipulate and strategize behind the scenes.
In the eyes of Zanu-PF and some post-colonial African political opinion the grievous error that the MDC
makes is to parade its Roy Bennetts, David Coltarts, Eddie Crosses, Ian Kays and Trudy Stevensons in public; granting them a manifestly conspicuous frontline role in the fight for democratic change.
The MDC strategists perhaps never read George Orwell’s Animal Farm or took serious note of Squealer’s constant exhortation to “Tactics, comrades.” Squealer was the porcine equivalent of Zimbabwe’s former Minister of Information, Prof Jonathan Moyo. In the Zimbabwean context, Mugabe did not preach reconciliation until he had the keys to the office of the Prime Minister in hand. Yet Tsvangirai practices appeasement and magnanimity from a position of powerlessness. Maybe if he could persuade Bennett to withdraw from the front he would soon have real power to share with him.
While the MDC’s white supporters love to shout from public platforms, Zanu-PF’s whites are voiceless but powerful backroom strategists. Their rare forays onto newspaper front pages are often prompted merely by the pressing need to defend themselves in the face of allegations of corruption, outright fraud or other impropriety while making money for themselves and Zanu-PF.
Being dedicated capitalists, even when Mugabe was still an avowed socialist, their major preoccupation is to make as much financial hay as possible, while the Zanu-PF sun still shines. Over the past 28 years of Mugabe’s rule leading entrepreneurs such as the gregarious British businessman Roland “Tiny” Rowland, the somewhat eccentric Nicholas van Hoogstraten, also British, John Arnold Bredenkamp, who constantly parries accusations of arms dealing, and Conrad Muller “Billy” Rautenbach who took care of Zanu-PF financial interests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have forged strong alliances with the Zanu-PF leadership, Mugabe himself included.
So too have emergent businessmen such as Lt. Col Lionel Dyke (Retired). He quickly rose from the relative obscurity of an officer in the Zimbabwe National Army and was thrust into the limelight by the turn of the century as a political broker.
He was assigned by two men he claimed to be his allies in Zanu-PF, Emmerson Mnangagwa, then Speaker of Parliament and retired defence forces commander Gen Vitalis Zvinavashe to broker a partnership deal between the ruling party and the MDC. Dyke said the MDC was represented by the party’s secretary general, Welshman Ncube and Paul Themba Nyathi, its secretary for information and publicity.
Dyke revealed these details to me in December 2002 when I was editor of the now banned Daily News. He disclosed that he had also been assigned to secure the support of The Daily News, then the country’s largest newspaper, for the ambitious political initiative. The initiative sought to sideline both Mugabe and Tsvangirai, in favour of a new leadership. I turned Dyke’s proposal down, and blew the plot in the newspaper.
Col Dyke, one of Zanu-PF’s most trusted white allies now rakes in millions through landmine recovery operations in Zimbabwe, the Middle East, Kosovo and other trouble-spots of the world. South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki has since taken over the role of mediator in the Zimbabwean political crisis.
Dyke, who was commander of the Rhodesian African Rifles during Ian Smith’s war against the guerilla armies, was in charge of a regiment of paratroopers in 1983 to 84 during the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland. The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission’s report “Breaking the Silence: Building True Peace” says Dyke expressed support for the deployment by government of Five Brigade against civilians, saying this strategy “brought peace very, very quickly”.
DYKES SUPPORT FOR MUGABE
Address by Morgan Tsvangirai at a meeting with MDC members of Parliament at Harvest House
18 December 2002
One Colonel Lionel Dyke and his business associates are being used to promote an agenda that seeks to legitimise the rogue regime. The names of Emmerson Mnangagwa and General Zvinavashe keep on coming up in this dirty plan which we are told was endorsed by ZANU PF, the British and the South Africans
Will Dyke ever face justice
Operation Gukurahundi (The rain that washes away the chaff before the spring rain)
In 1983, the North Korean-trained 5th Brigade, under the command of Lt Col Perence Shire, once known as the "Black Jesus", but currently the commander of Zimbabwe's air force, was the vanguard unit in a campaign against alleged dissidents that has also become known as the Matabeleland Massacres. At least 20,000 people were killed in the operation. The target of Gukurahundi was members of the rival liberation movement, ZAPU, led by Joshua Nkomo and drawn mainly from Zimbabwe's Ndebele people in the southwest of the country. There were numerous accounts of children murdered, women raped and killed, and homesteads razed. Regarding the deaths of civilians, Mugabe reportedly said in April 1983: "We eradicate them. We don't differentiate when we fight because we can't tell who is a dissident and who is not." Unlike other army units, the 5th Brigade, comprised of Shona-speaking people, reported directly to Mugabe.
On 22 December 1987 Nkomo signed a Unity Accord, merging ZAPU with ZANU-PF. Mugabe signed a host of amnesty bills pardoning all dissidents and army units, including the 5th Brigade, in 1988. During Gukurahundi, two security ministers presided over operations: Emerson Mnangagwa, known by his supporters as Ngwena (The Crocodile), is currently the rural housing minister; he was succeeded by Sydney Sekeremayi, who currently holds the minister of defence portfolio. Retired Lt Col Lionel Dyke, commander of the parachute battalion during Gukurahundi and formerly commander of the Rhodesian African Rifles, which fought against Zimbabwe's liberation movements, is alleged to have participated in several acts of torture. He now is reportedly involved in demining and security operations in such places as Lebanon and Iraq. A human rights pressure group based in The Hague, Crimes Against Humanity Zimbabwe, is campaigning for Gukurahundi to be recognised as genocide
- Beaver Shaw
- Nairobi, Kenya
- I an ex member of both 7 and 8 Squadron's of the Rhodesian war spending most of my operational time on Seven Squadron as a K Car gunner. I was credited for shooting down a fixed wing aircraft from a K Car on the 9 August 1979. This blog is from articles for research on a book which I HAVE HANDED THIS MANUSCRIPT OVER TO MIMI CAWOOD WHO WILL BE HANDLING THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF WHICH THERE WILL BE VERY LIMITED COPIES AVAILABLE Contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org The latest news is that the Editing is now done and we can expect to start sales and deliveries by the end of April 2011
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