Of mine shafts and bones

The Fallen Heroes Association of Zimbabwe (FHAZ) and its Zanu (PF) allies are doing an excellent job exhuming the remains of former freedom fighters, recovering their bones from the depths of disused mineshafts for reburial at provincial heroes acres and other decent places.

To the ordinary Zimbabwean, very few things are more important than ensuring that upon passing on to the next world their remains, or those of their loved ones, are accorded a decent resting place. Surely, the fallen heroes and heroines of the struggle for independence deserve no less.

But the exhumation exercise which ideally should be a national exercise but, sadly, has been monopolised by Zanu (PF) risks being seen as nothing more than a shameless propaganda stunt to prop up that partys image in the face of a looming constitutional referendum and general elections.

Zanu (PF)s desperation to curry favour and sympathy with the electorate and gain a few more Xs come voting day is understandable – given that partys long and truly appalling record in government. But it would be utterly dishonourable and immoral for President Robert Mugabe and his party to try to manipulate the gallant efforts of the fallen heroes and heroines in this way.

Zanu (PF) and its FHAZ offspring know, as we all do, that history did not begin and end with the liberation struggle. The abandoned mineshafts dotted across Zimbabwes countryside hold more skeletons than the number of people killed during the struggle for independence. Anyone from Matabeleland or Midlands can tell you this. The point is: who will exhume and recover the remains of the victims of Gukurahundi from the depths of disused mineshafts and other unmarked mass graves? They, too, deserve a spot in a decent cemetery.

Speaking more than a week ago during recovery of the remains of nearly 300 supposed ZANLA fighters from Chibondo mineshaft near Mount Darwin in Mashonaland Central, provincial governor Martin Dinha said the exhumation: “exposed the true nature and character of white settler colonialism. How murderous the (Ian) Smith regime (was).”

We hear you Mr Governor but that is only half the story. We sincerely look forward to reading one day the missing half of the story on the gravestones of victims of Gukurahundi, detailing who they were, why and how they were murdered.

Certainly, Smiths regime was not the only one to spill innocent blood in this land.

And this is exactly what we have been saying all these years. That in Mugabe and Zanu (PF), Zimbabweans simply exchanged Smith and his Rhodesian Front for a new but equally murderous and oppressive regime. What a betrayal of the noble objectives and gallant sacrifice of the liberation struggle and those heroes and heroines called upon to pay the ultimate price!

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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