Blood-soaked war vets’ Njelele sacrilege


So, it appears, the war veterans and other perpetrators of the ghastly June 2008 violence have begun to reap the fruits of their actions.

They are in panic mode and are running like headless chickens trying to find peace with the dead and the maimed — victims of their “valiant” deeds.

Stories of war vet “pilgrims”trekking to the sacred Njelele shrine last week made very interesting, almost funny, reading.

Truckloads, or is it busloads of frightened one-time firagos descended on Njelele – all 700-plus of them – and slaughtered a beast in a bid to get national ancestors to wash their blooded hands and cursed spirits.

Now we are told the guys may have messed it all up, wasted time, money and other resources while at the same time committing sacrilege and angering the same spirits from whom they sought protection.

They entered the sacred shrine at a time when no one is allowed in there; but being the war veterans that we have come to know, their visit translated into an invasion – characteristic of our ex-combatants.

Traditionalists from Matabeleland were shocked that the war vets went to Njelele at this time of the year when it is taboo to do so.

Historian and cultural expert Phathisa Nyathi said Njelele shrine is visited for ritual purposes only just before the rainy season.

“The place is usually visited between August and September when rainmakers from all over the country’s provinces come together for rituals. The shrine should not be visited at this time of the year,” he said.

The comrades ought to have sought proper advice from traditional authorities before embarking on their futile and now blasphemous trip.

Traditionalists who now fear for the spiritually embattled “heroes” of the 2008 bloodbath, say they dread contemplating the kind of backlash the visit by the feared militants is likely to attract.

“It is not within the realms of the living to foretell the kind of punishment the ancestors will give for visiting the shrine during an improper time,” said Nyathi.

He said it was not possible for the guardians of the shrines to turn back the war vets given their not-so-glorious reputation and their- number – they were quite a crowd – 700 of them!

“There was no space for negotiations with that kind of number . . .The number was quite imposing,” said Nyathi. They arrived in a convoy of six buses, 16 commuter omnibuses and more than 30 private cars, causing a stir in the normally quiet rural area.

The “bloodstained” pilgrims claimed to have come all the way from Harare, Mutare, Kadoma, Kwekwe and Rusape.

War veterans from that region, the Zipra Veterans Trust, were quick to dissociate themselves from that scandal and its chairman, Retired Colonel Ray Ncube, reiterated it was profanity to visit the shrine this time of the year.

There is little doubt the hundreds of people making the war veterans’ delegation are frightfully desperate for some kind of cleansing for their evil deeds. They are being punished in one way or the other for their sins.

The people they murdered or whose souls they tormented are out for revenge. When two weeks ago Mashonaland Central governor Martin Dinha warned villagers around Nzvimbo Growth Point in Chiweshe against witchcraft many people called this newspaper daring the governor to come out clean and say the truth.

They claimed the governor was literally pleading with avenging spirits and living victims of political violence who were on a revenge mission, to cease fire.

“Many known perpetrators of the 2008 violence are dying while others have gone mad or are afflicted with various kinds of mysterious ailments,” a caller said. “We are revenging and they must not cry foul.”

In our Zimbabwean culture, even in the Bible, man was given power over all the creatures on earth but no man was given power over another man.

The problem with instigating political violence is that the spiritual consequences of avenging spirits (ngozi) do not haunt the one who sends people to murder others but the person who does the actual killing.

Even if one kills an innocent soul and is sentenced before the formal court of law, according to our traditional culture, appeasement has to be done.

If that is not done, the effects will haunt you, your family and generations to come up to a stage the perpetrator settles the compensation.

Member of Parliament for Buhera West Eric Matinenga told people at a memorial service of a victim of political violence in his constituency that the problem with political murders of innocent people is that the politicians who send their thugs to commit these crimes do not give their goons a ngozi payment on top of the material and monetary rewards that they give them.

In our culture, we believe it is unavoidable to suffer the consequences of shedding innocent blood but no matter how gruesome examples are shown everywhere, come election time, more people are killed in cold blood.

The MDC-T claimed over 200 of its supporters were murdered before and after the bloody 2008 presidential election rerun but police said they made no arrests because there was no evidence.

Is there better evidence than this open confession by blood-soaked war vets that now seek cleansing?