THE opinion penned by Xolani Ndlovu published in Tuesday’s NewsDay titled, Matabeleland needs to forgive 36 years after Gukurahundi, cannot go unchallenged primarily because it places the burden of Gukurahundi on the victims.
guest column S Ncube
Although claiming to be a pastor, he seems to fail to appreciate that certain conditions have to be met before forgiveness is granted. The Bible which he generously quote but out of context says “if we confess our sins, He is just and willing to forgive”.
Therefore, repentance and forsaking the sin is a precondition that has biblical support for all those genuinely seeking forgiveness. Anything else is a mere hallucinatory wish.
Born in 1981, it is highly frivolous and vexatious for Ndlovu to pretend to understand the pain and hurt in Matabeleland.
In Siwale River, Lupane, 57 young men were shot at point blank range for nothing other than being in Matabeleland.
For anyone to suggest that such cruelty must be forgiven so that we move on is disrespectful and shows utter disdain for the anguish of the victims.
Ndlovu wants the people of Matabeleland “to move on”, but it is not clear why he wants them to move on and to where. To another genocide?
The greatest handicap of his analysis is his complete failure to appreciate that justice is a right and we deserve answers on why our pregnant sisters were ripped open on the basis that they were carrying dissidents.
It is, therefore, the height of hypocrisy for this so-called pastor to hide the sins of the perpetrators behind an incoherent veil of irrelevant scriptures. His misplaced appeal to the victims must be dismissed with contempt and as we shall never be bought with silver or gold to forsake our quest for justice.
Those who shall not repent, confess and forsake their sins will burn in a hell, a lake of fire the holy scripture clearly state so. Which Bible does he read that says victims must not seek justice and that the guilty must feel no burden for their heinous sins?
The world today, and rightly so, is still hunting down the Nazis for crimes committed in the 1930s and for him to purport to be speaking for God is a tragic manifestation of misplaced self-importance.
Three of my brothers fought under the Zipra banner. I will not state their names for now but shall do so in my next response should that be necessary. These were highly trained cadres who fought alongside some of the ANC Umkhonto Wesizwe-Zipra alliance battles against the colonial regime in the Hwange area.
At independence, they assembled in Gwayi as part of the returning Zipra contingent. They were demobilised in 1980 notwithstanding their outstanding military record and they used the proceeds (demobilisation) to buy properties under the guidance and direction of Joshua Nkomo under Zapu.
In 1983, exactly two years after the birth of Ndlovu, the three of them were rounded up at Silwane village in Lupane. They were made to dig a grave and then shot at point blank range while we watched. They had been disarmed in 1980. They had done nothing, absolutely nothing wrong.
In our culture we do not dance on graves. That day, the villagers were forced to dance on the grave of the gallant ex-Zipra guerrillas while singing Shona songs. Songs that had neither meaning nor relevance.
When my brothers died they never begged for their lives. They eyes were fixed on us and not on their tormentors.
Their unspoken message was loud and clear — that we should seek justice and demand to know why it was a crime that they fought under Zipra.
Today their children are orphaned. Ndlovu grew up with a father. They did not have a father because someone decided to kill them in cold blood. Their contribution towards Zipra properties was in vain as Zanu PF government later confiscated everything and to this day has refused to return the properties to the beneficiaries.
Maybe Xolani Ndlovu wants to move on. By all means he must. As the victims of Gukurahundi we shall never forgive until the perpetrators reveal why they killed our relatives.
We remain on their graves with bitterness that only tears can explain. We have never seen Gukurahundi as a war between Shonas and Ndebeles. It was a gross abuse of State apparatus to commit genocide against civilians. It is funny how the now disgraced former Vice-President became the most loquacious critic of the victims of Gukurahundi and today the same system that led to Itai Dzamara’s disappearance remains intact and ready to war against unarmed civilians.
The August 1 2018 killing of civilians is the more reason why all those responsible for Gukurahundi must be held to account. Otherwise, the scourge of impunity and abuse of human rights will remain untouched, while pastors such as Ndlovu worship under the altar of appeasement.
One of the most unfortunate rebukes to the so-called pastors was their deathly silence during Gukurahundi. They held their peace then, surely they must hold their peace now, while as victims we decide how we want to move on.
We have already moved to demanding justice. Anyone who believes that the thousands of graves of civilians slaughtered in cold blood in Matabeleland will be forgotten under a false and preposterous mirage of forgiveness is a day-dreamer.
Ncube is a victim of Gukurahundi and writes in his personal capacity