Zimbabwe and the Politics of Impunity
on human rights in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

Disputed seats © Misheck Masamvu 2008
Peter Godwin
The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe

Little, Brown and Co., March 2011. 384 pp.

Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe
Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe: A Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands

Columbia University Press, June 2008. 448 pp.

James Kilgore
We Are All Zimbabweans Now: A Novel

Ohio University Press, Sep. 2011. 272 pp.

Peter Orner and Annie Holmes, eds.
Hope Deferred: Narratives of Zimbabwean Lives

McSweeney’s, Dec. 2010. 304 pp.

Interviewed rather gently in October 1984 by Zimbabwe’s Moto magazine about the “allegations” of his army’s massacres of the Ndebele-speaking inhabitants of Matabeleland in the southwest of a liberated Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe claimed, “We have the army there to try and defend these helpless citizens.”

In fact, what at first glance appeared to be an internecine conflict among demobilized former liberation fighters had turned into an all-out assault on Mugabe’s political opposition and its civilian Ndebele ethnic base. Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU (Zimbabawe African People’s Union), founded in 1961, and Mugabe’s ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union), which broke away from ZAPU in 1963, had both fought a successful guerilla war against Ian Smith’s Rhodesian government. Mugabe’s ZANU won the first post-independence elections in 1980, only to find its political dominance challenged in Matabeleland by Nkomo’s Ndebele-based ZAPU. Intense political repression of Nkomo’s supporters followed, in a process known as the Gukurahundi, which claimed the lives of an estimated 20,000 civilians until the Unity Accord of 1987 merged the two parties into the current ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front).

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CIO 'watching' Mnangagwa and Mphoko

CIO ‘watching’ Mnangagwa and Mphoko

HARARE – Vice presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko are under surveillance by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) because of statements they made in recent weeks.

Second VP Phelekezela Mphoko, President Robert Mugabe and First VP Emmerson Mnangagwa

Mnangagwa headed the national security portfolio in the 1980s and Mphoko worked under him. Both are believed to enjoy strong…

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A Manifesto for the Mired Masses.

They say it’s History and Politics

and needs must, all Machiavellian and textbook,

those self-serving leaders of doctored elections

poised with their carving knives or sipping tea at conference tables,

a rich Zimbabwe laid naked to be plundered and broken:

the Zulu, the British, the Shona, the Government, the West.

It will always be wrong and unjust

and you can’t paint it over as race-war or tribe-war

or some new century capitalist conflict

and relegate the lives of millions to the back pages of books.

You CANNOT absolve certain atrocities solely because of timing

or shuffle awkwardly in your own homes

because deviations from party lines are taboo;

or stand ignorant in classrooms

and know more about Auschwitz than Gukurahundi,

or switch channels on the TV because that suffering isn’t your own.

And you CANNOT let your political mind take over,

you cannot assume the arrogance of the detached

and think that the mangling of a country is justified

by History, THEIR history translated to Afro-contexts:

they had Napoleon and we had Emperor Bokassa,

a rash of revolutions back there boys, so we’ll have a cycle of coups;

and you can’t defend leaders who’ve destroyed your homeland

and claim we write our own History along their patterns.

Do not be angry at conscience, 

rise above the condescending tones of foreign media and

the patronizing words of people who bitch about welfare payments and pensions.

Do not become resigned to it,


Not when people are DYING.

Not when old wounds are cut up and new injuries inflicted.

Not when millions of futures are ravaged

and everyone offering a hand is a fucking vulture,

not when after each revolution another Colonel lies in wait.

This is not chess,

these are people who had lives and who lost them,

people who continue to lose:

parents, siblings, sons and daughters

who must be avenged by becoming good again

by being better and rebuilding everything that They destroyed.

CIO officers urged Zapu to hide arms

CIO officers urged Zapu to hide arms

By Tawanda Majoni

HARARE – A senior member of Zapu has accused Britain of helping to spark the Gukurahundi massacres to destabilise the new black government in the early 1980s.

Robert Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Perence Shiri the three key figures in the Gukurahundi Genocide

He said white members of the Central Intelligence Organisation, led by Ken Flower, advised Zapu to keep some of its…

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'While he is not Jesus Christ, Mphoko should also not act like the devil'

‘While he is not Jesus Christ, Mphoko should also not act like the devil’

By Guthrie Munyuki

In 2011 veteran nationalist and former Midlands Governor Cephas Msipa, told a packed auditorium at the Rainbow Towers Hotel the harrowing stories of former Zapu cadres who bore the brunt of a crackdown by the North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade.

VP Phelekezela Mphoko

The crackdown to stem ‘‘insurrection’’ by ‘‘dissidents’’in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces resulted in the…

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Group goes to court over Gukurahundi

Group goes to court over Gukurahundi

By Jeffrey Muvundusi

BULAWAYO – Local pressure group, Ibhetshu Likazulu, has filed an urgent chamber application in the Bulawayo High Court contesting a recent police decision to bar them from commemorating the Gukurahundi massacres which saw thousands of innocent civilians losing their lives at the hands of the army in the early 1980s.

Robert Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Perence Shiri the…

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Calls for Mphoko to resign over Gukurahundi remarks

Calls for Mphoko to resign over Gukurahundi remarks

By Staff Reporter

HARARE – The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has called on Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko to resign over remarks he made over the weekend suggesting that President Robert Mugabe had nothing to do with the Gukurahundi Massacres.

Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko

The state controlled media quoted Mphoko saying the massacres which saw up to 20 000 villagers and…

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Gukurahundi killings a ‘conspiracy’ says Mphoko

Gukurahundi killings a ‘conspiracy’ says Mphoko

Zimbabwe’s Gukurahundi massacres which saw up to 20 000 villagers and opponents of President Robert Mugabe killed in the mid-1980s, was a conspiracy of the UK, US and apartheid-era South Africa, state media reported on Sunday.

President Robert Mugabe, flanked by Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa (L) and Phelekezela Mphoko

“Gukurahundi after the (1970s) war had nothing to do with Mugabe,…

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Zapu takes aim at Mnangagwa

Zapu takes aim at Mnangagwa

By Nelson Sibanda

The Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) has described Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa as a desperate politician, seeking cheap sympathy from the people of Matabeleland whom he ordered butchered under the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 80s.

Emmerson Mnangagwa

ZAPU spokesperson Mjobise Noko told The Zimbabweanthat by fabricating falsehoods that Dumiso Dabengwa and other…

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Aggrieved Mphoko disowns Gukurahundi

Aggrieved Mphoko disowns Gukurahundi

By Jeffrey Muvundusi

BULAWAYO – Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has denied persistent charges by his critics that he participated in the massacre of an estimated 20 000 innocent civilians in the early 1980s, mainly in Matabeleland and the Midlands, during the infamous Gukurahundi offensive in the region by the army.

Phelekezela Mphoko

Mphoko told scores of Zanu PF supporters gathered at…

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Fresh row over Gukurahundi Massacres

Fresh row over Gukurahundi Massacres

By Tendai Kamhungira and Mugove Tafirenyika

HARARE – State media columnist Nathaniel Manheru — widely understood to be President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba — has ignited a fresh storm over Gukurahundi, claiming controversially that some politicians were using the massacres of the early 1980s in a desperate quest to seek political relevance.

State media columnist Nathaniel…

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Mphoko under fire over utterances

Mphoko under fire over utterances

By Mugove Tafirenyika

HARARE – Some angry Zimbabweans have called on newly-appointed Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko to either resign from his post or apologise profusely and unreservedly for his “thoughtless” views on the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres.

Phelekezela Mphoko

This was after controversial utterances were attributed to Mphoko at the weekend which seemingly absolved the Zanu PF…

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