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"The Bhalagwe Commemoration did not take place because police did not “approve” the notification lodged by Ibhetshu likaZulu, the organizers. Instead on the day the police set up road blocks and barred access from the trunk road into the turn-off to the site where bodies of civilians were dumped into disused shafts following killings during “Gukurahundi” operations by the Fifth Brigade of Zimbabwe’s army. The short address from Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, who was accompanied by other senior leaders of ZAPU, is reproduced below. A few copies were given out at the road block but the lighting of candles on the ground was stopped by riot police who scattered the candles with baton sticks."
Gukurahundi Commemoration at Bhalagwe, Matopo North, 21 October 2017
Dr. Dumiso Dabengwa, ZAPU President: Speaking Notes
Today, 21 October 2017, we are here in Bhalagwe to remember what should not have happened to the people of Matebeleland and the Midlands, and indeed what should not have happened to anyone in newly independent Zimbabwe. We are witnesses to mass killings on a scale that future generations may find difficult to comprehend, yet even we ourselves at times wish it was just a bad dream.
Heartless and well-planned ethnic slaughter
When ZANU-PF gained control of Zimbabwe in April 1980 following our independence from Britain, it did not take long to show its intent to destroy ZAPU. In October 1980 Robert Mugabe, who was Prime Minister at the time, came to an agreement with the government of North Korea for the training of the Fifth Brigade. The next step was the arrival in 1981 of 106 military instructors to train the Fifth Brigade which, according to former Vice-President, was recruited from the Zezuru ethnic group from Zvimba jn Mashonaland West.
As it turned out, the purpose of the Fifth Brigade was to carry out “ethnic cleansing” dubbed “Gukurahundi”as well as crushing ZAPU to pave the way for a one-party state controlled by ZANU=PF. False allegations were made against ZPRA cadres and some of us were arrested and subsequently detained without trial. At the end of January 1983 Mugabe unleashed his 5th Brigade on a genocidal expedition in Matebeleland and Ndebele-speaking parts of the Midlands. Over 20,000 civilians were killed yet the excuse of the operation was that it was to fight so-called “dissidents” who were threatening the security of the state.
In Matebeleland South, Bhalagwe became a notorious place of sadistic beatings and torture. We recall with sadness and outrage that this place experienced daily deaths as a result of these cruel acts of armed men. Many families can attest o the constant digging of graves by survivors. At the same time, some of the bodies of victims were taken away in truckloads and dumped in Antelope Mine shafts.
A solemn remembrance
We recall and recount these gruesome facts of the “Gukurahundi” massacres so that those who died unnecessary and painful deaths may not be forgotten for the great price they did not have to pay, but which they paid so soon after their children, siblings, parents and friends died in the struggle for the liberation of Zimbabwe.
Today ZAPU joins Ibhetshu LikaZulu to pay respect for the people who were buried in mass graves at this place and those whose bodies were dumped in Antelope Mine shafts. All the people buried unceremoniously died with their hopes for peace and a better life that should have come with independence. To attain this many had fought with guns, gave food and medicine to the ZPRA forces, or provided the fighters with intelligence on the enemy. We therefore hope that this is the first of many commemorations to come.
Independence does not necessarily mean freedom and human rights
It is a rich irony that Dr. Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo who is universally recognized as “Father Zimbabwe” hailed from this traumatized district. He summed up the unfulfilled hopes and aspirations of the people by reportedly observing that late in his life he realized that independence does not necessarily mean freedom. In an independent Zimbabwe he was forced by circumstances to swallow the 22 December 1987 “Unity Accord” as the price for stopping the “Gukurahundi” massacres. This terrible “accord” entailed the incorporation of PF-ZAPU into ZANU-PF and the unstated wiping out of ZAPU and ZPRA history, and not just appropriating institutions but rebranding heroes and heroines of our struggle. Since ZAPU re-emerged in 2010 we are rebuilding our legacy and our role in creating a free, democratic and prosperous state. We shall intensify this by playing a constructive role in forging unity of opposition forces to remove entrenched ZANU-PF rule in the 2018 elections.
One of the failures of the last 30 years which we shall tackle is putting closure to the tragic history surrounding “Gukurahundi”. For a start, there has been no official apology for the unwarranted destruction of life and property of over 20,000 unarmed civilians by the security apparatus of the state.
Thirty years after the start of the killings the closest the ZANU regime has come to acknowledging responsibility was when President Mugabe called the episode “a moment of madness”. The unrepentant perpetrators of this crime against humanity have lost many opportunities to own up and to begin a healing process that starts with a sincere apology to families of victims, a program for redress including negotiated compensation even so late in the day. These are some of the issues that we hoped would be dealt with by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission established under the 2013 Constitution. There was a glimmer of hope when the distinguished Advocate Cyril Ndebele was appointed as the first Chairman of this Commission in February 2016, but his unfortunate death within the same year robbed the country of an opportunity to deal intelligently and decisively with the healing process. We owe this to ourselves and to future generations.
The outside world needs consistency
Zimbabwe is part of the global community, and at the time of “Gukurahundi” was more rational in dealing with former colonial powers. The Western World which has been fortifying its own human rights was either unaware of the scale of the genocidal killings in Matebeleland or in some cases more concerned about perceived geo-political interests. It has since become clear that shameless tribal killers are not respecters of race either. In a perverse way, unregulated violence following the chaotic occupation of white farms improved awareness of the injustices inflicted on the defenseless Ndebele-speaking people. Archive material now declassified outside Zimbabwe is coming out with evidence of deliberate Western silence whereas some restraint could have been applied to reduce the level of cruelty and loss of lives. We hope that the indivisibility of human rights will be a guiding principle for dealing with instances of state violence.
ZAPU HAS CONFIDENCE IN THE ORDINARY CITIZENS OF ZIMBABWE
By Sakhile Sibanda
“TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE ZIMBABWE WORK FOR EVERYBODY”, says, the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) in their Manifesto soon to be launched. In relation to the recent Mugabe’s cabinet reshuffle, the message is, why bother with Mugabe and his game of musical chairs where, from time to time, his lieutenants switch seats. The same corrupt and mediocre individuals remain in key decision making positions with nothing new to offer.
ZAPU may be considered an insignificant party in the eyes of some people but its vision resonates with many people who want the ZANU centralised incompetency out of the way. The party’s support base is growing rapidly. The reality is that Zimbabwe is broken and it needs all of us as citizens to make our country work for everybody and not just for the elites and the connected. The rot must not be allowed to continue beyond the 2018 elections. People should avoid putting their Xs in the wrong box.
The ZANU PF and its government administration are in disarray. The ruling party leadership is now possessed by a spirit of madness which renders it incapable of fixing anything now or in the future apart from doing everything possible to hold onto power. By madness, I mean the exhibiting of harmful or reckless behaviour that does not make sense to any level headed thinking person.
Madness is not new to the ruling party. Our long serving president, Mr Robert Gabriel Mugabe, once described the act of unleashing the Firth Brigade on the people of Matebeleland and Midlands and the killing of innocent civilians in 1982-84 as a “moment of madness”. Now a different kind of madness is around him. The shortage of tradable currency is killing businesses and there is no hope of economic recovery under his administration. The government allowed the Chinese to mop up the US dollars and is now in the business of mopping up the US dollars by using money vendors on the streets. Surely this is the madness of the first order.
We have a party that defies the African culture and tradition of Ubuntu. Mr Mugabe at his advanced age is in charge of the country’s administration and is expected to be doing the running around and the jetting off to every international event as if there are no subordinates. What happens when he drops dead tomorrow. It is also madness on the part of Mr Mugabe to be holding on to power.
The First Lady, Grace Mugabe is throwing herself into the political fray like a headless chicken with no direction as to where she wants to land. Whether she is being used or is flexing her own muscles, it is extremely embarrassing to hear the supposed mother of the nation publicly undressing leaders of her party and wanting the corpse of her husband to rule from the grave. Her whorish utterances are an affront to women in general and those who applaud such disgraceful behaviour should be ashamed of themselves.
Day in and day out we are bombarded by stories of factional fights which are said to be tearing the ZANU PF apart. Is this real or is it a mirage to confuse people. What difference will it make if either faction triumphs over the other? Initially, it was Emmerson Mnangagwa against Joice Mujuru and now it is Lacoste against G40. Of course, soap opera is seductive but these ZANU internal politics should not be the concern the of suffering masses who spend hours queuing for their pensions, medical aid benefits and to withdraw money from their banks? It defies logic that so many people will vote for ZANU in 2018 elections and the continuation of the same.
ZANU old tricks cannot be ruled out. It is a common belief that ZANU PF has, over the years managed to hold onto power by doctoring the electoral processes, creating fear of violence, intimidation and exclusion from livelihood benefits, using state resources for party campaigns, and by making people dependent on the party and government handouts, including the linking of access to banking facilities to ZANU PF membership card.
Together we can make Zimbabwe work for everybody
ZAPU pledges to remove the current system of centralised power which perpetuates patronage and “jobs-for-loyalty”, and implement the unconditional devolution of power and responsibilities to the provinces, local governments and local communities. In 2013 the people of Zimbabwe voted in a referendum in favour of the constitution which enshrines the virtues of devolution in CHAPTER 14:
The democratic participation in government by all citizens and communities of Zimbabwe and the equitable allocation of national resources and the participation of local communities in the determination of development priorities within their area.
Zapu pledges to work tirelessly to ensure that the enabling legislation is enacted for the devolution of power to be implemented. This will promote democratic, effective, transparent, accountable and coherent governance in Zimbabwe and put brakes on the thieving and reckless use of resources for partisan ends. Those who benefit from the current system are unlikely to allow such a departure without a fight. It is up to you the owners of the state to exercise your choice wisely.
REGISTER TO VOTE VOTE ZAPU
Zapu Secretary for Policy & Strategy
Zimbabwe African People's Union
The party was formed on 17 December 1961, 10 days after the Rhodesian government banned the National Democratic Party (NDP). Founded by Joshua Nkomo as president, Parirenyatwa as vice-president, Ndabaningi Sithole as chairman, Jason Moyo, Robert Mugabe as information and publicity secretary, Leopold Takawira as external secretary, at the request of Joseph Msika, ZAPU was banned in 1962 by the Rhodesian white minority government, and was later engaged in a guerrilla war against it. The armed wing of ZAPU, known as Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army(ZIPRA), was commanded by General Lookout Masuku.
ZAPU was aligned with the Soviet Union whose ideology was to mobilise the urban workers, whereas ZANU had a pro-People's Republic of China orientation which was to mobilise the rural peasantry.
Unification into ZANU–PF
In 1980 it contested elections in Zimbabwe as the Patriotic Front, but lost to its rival the ZANU. They merged into ZANU–PF in 1987 following the Gukurahundi massacres.
The Unity Accord signed at that meeting stated:
- That ZANU - PF and PF ZAPU have irrevocably committed themselves to unite under one political party.
- That the unity of the two political parties; shall be achieved under the name Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) in short ZANU - PF.
- That Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe shall be the First Secretary and President of ZANU PF.
- That ZANU PF shall have two Second Secretaries and Vice-Presidents who shall be appointed by the First Secretary and President of the Party.
- That ZANU PF shall seek to establish a socialist society in Zimbabwe on the guidance of Marxism–Leninism principles.
- That ZANU PF shall seek to establish a One Party State in Zimbabwe.
- That the leadership of ZANU - PF shall abide by the Leadership Code.
- That the existing structures of ZANU - PF and PF ZAPU shall be merged in accordance with the letter and spirit of this Agreement.
- That both parties shall, in the interim, take immediate vigorous steps to eliminate and end the insecurity and violence prevalent in Matabeleland.
- That ZANU - PF and PF ZAPU shall convene their respective Congress to give effect to this Agreement within the shortest possible time.
- That, in the interim, Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe is vested with full powers to prepare for the implementation of this Agreement and to act in the name and authority of ZANU - PF.
2008 Withdrawal from Unity Accord
Under the influence of Benny Ncube and Dumiso Dabengwa in mid-October 2008, in the midst of the ongoing negotiations with rival parties, a group of former PF ZAPU and Zipra members became outspoken in the desire to dissolve the alliance with ZANU - PF. According to the website, the members convened a meeting in on 8 November 2008 and it was decided:
- That the political structure of ZAPU cease to operate under the title ZANU - PF and to resume the title ZAPU.
- That all party structures operate under the authority of the Constitution of ZAPU.
- That the District Councils should meet to prepare for and convene a Consultative Conference consisting of the ten Provinces by December 2008, for the purpose of electing an Interim Executive charged with the responsibility to mobilise and restructure the party and convene the party Congress by March 2009, in terms of Article 6 of the constitution of ZAPU.
- That a campaign to mobilise resources in the country, from well-wishers everywhere, from fraternal political parties and International Organisations be undertaken forthwith.
- To engage as necessary in the negotiations and peace building initiatives to emeliorate the political and economic hardships presently being endured by the people of Zimbabwe.
- To convene a consultative Conference consisting of all the ten political Provinces by December 2008 for the purpose of electing an Interim Executive, charged to mobilise and restructure the party and convene the Party's Congress by March 2009, in terms of Article 6 of the Constitution of ZAPU.
- This is done and agreed to by us the delegates to the Consultative Meeting at Stanley Square, Bulawayo on 8 November 2008.
This resulted in a party-internal controversy which culminated in an official severing of ties with ZANU-PF in December 2008.
2016 Withdrawal From ZNLWVA
Ex-ZIPRA cadres officially withdrew their membership from the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association which is under the administration of ZANU PF.They moved on to revive ZIPRA with the interim executive of the association being led by Benny Ncube as chairperson,Tapson Moyo as vice chairperson,Petros Sibanda as secretary, Job Ndlovu as deputy secretary,Belinda Ndebele as treasurer and committee members are Stanley Ncube and Clement Malaba Ncube.The committee's mandate is to set up the association's structures in provinces and districts in preparation for the inaugural congress where substantive executive will be elected.The association will function in close association with the mother party ZAPU.
ZAPU National Consultative Convention
At the party conference, the ZAPU National Consultative Convention, held from the 13th to the 14 December 2008, Dumiso Dabengwa, a former Home Affairs minister was elected interim chairperson with the mandate to convene a two-day congress starting the 11 April 2009. The congress would formally endorse the pullout from ZANU and elect an executive for the party. The convention took place at MacDonald's Hall in Mzilikazi suburb in Bulawayo.
Party Congress of 2009
The party congress of 2009 which was supposed to elect new leadership took place a month later that scheduled, on the 16 May 2009. The congress formally endorsed the party's withdrawal from ZANU PF. The party announced that it had officially cut ties with ZANU PF and had withdrawn support for its former members who had chosen to remain in ZANU. The congress was attended by delegates from the country's 10 provinces as well as representatives from Canada, South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland.
9th Party Congress 2010
A full Congress was held at the Bulawayo Trade Fair in August 2010 at which a full policy was agreed and a substantive leadership elected with Dumiso Dabengwa as President and Emilia Mukaratirwa as Vice-President.
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