Film maker escape CIO kidnap attempt

BULAWAYO - Zenzele Ndebele (Pictured), producer of a documentary on 1980s army atrocities in Zimbabwes southern regions, says two unidentified men he suspected to be state secret agents attempted to abduct him on Saturday afternoon.

Ndebeles 25-minute documentary titled Gukurahundi: A Moment of Madness which was released in 2007, narrates events during an army crackdown known as Gukurahundi that was carried out by the armys notorious 5th Brigade ostensibly to rid the southern Matabeleland and Midlands regions of armed dissidents opposed to President Robert Mugabes rule.

Two men wanted to abduct me at Bulawayo Centre complex on Saturday afternoon. Initially when I met these guys, one of them said he wanted to know about my Gukurahundi film them I told them its in the public domain and its not new, said Ndebele who is also a production manager at the privately owned Bulawayo based radio station, Radio Dialogue.

Sensing danger, I decided to leave the scene, then one of them called me back to check a message on his mobile but I refused and he tried to grab my hand, was it not for my quick thinking to run away, am not sure what would have happened to me by now, he added

Ndebele said he would not be silenced until the perpetrators of Gukurahundi massacres are brought to justice. The Gukurahundi massacres remain a sensitive subject especially because President Robert Mugabes government has refused to apologise for the killingsm although the Zimbabwean leader has called the crackdown a moment of madness.

An estimated 20 000 innocent civilians, almost all of them belonging to the minority Ndebele tribe, died in the crackdown that is one of the darkest periods in Zimbabwes post-colonial history.

Meanwhile according to Radio VOP, the announcement by Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi that the North Korean national soccer team would train in Zimbabwe has sparked a tribal storm particularly in Bulawayo where some activists feel the teams presence would re-open old wounds of the Gukurahundi era. Last Wednesday, Mzembi announced that only the North Korean soccer team had accepted to train in Zimbabwe during their preparations for the World Cup. The government approached five World Cup participating countries England, the United States of America, Australia, Brazil and North Korea – to train in the country. According to Mzembi, only North Korea took the offer.

But that deal is now in trouble as some activists feel the presence of North Koreans was a symbolic insult that would reopen old wounds, which would also remind many that the relationship between Zimbabwe and North Korean was cemented by the blood of our kin. In a forum of mostly activists fighting the marginalisation of Matabeleland, angry email exchanges have been the order of the day since the announcement, to share ideas on how we can protest, embark on massive advocacy to register our discontent, and if we can possibly attempt to have them barred from coming to train at Barbourfields Stadium.

South Africa based Zimbabwean actor Bhekilizwe Ndlovu said the North Koreans should be pushed out of town. This could begin serious dialogue, action and closure to this problem (of the effects of Gukurahundi atrocities) that continues to haunt us, said Ndlovu, who is famous for his role as AK in the once popular local ZTV soap Amakorokoza.

In one of the emails, UK based Zimbabwean academic and civic activist, Brilliant Mhlanga, said the North Koreans had been an accomplice in many ways to Mugabes regime. Mhlanga said it is possible to have this thing (stopping the North Koreans from camping in Zimbabwe) done. Among those who support the proposal is former Radio Zimbabwe presenter, Ezra Tshisa Sibanda, who said he has two documentaries that show people being raped, maimed and killed.

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