The month of June will always be remembered by Zimbabweans as a horror month. A month when the masses were subjected to suffering by either work related accidents or at the hands of heartless regime.
There are many incidents that took place during the month of June that makes sad memories to millions of Zimbabweans. I will however dwell on five of these inhuman activities, these are the Wankie Kamandama mine disaster, the Soweto Massacre, Operation Murambatsvina, 2008’s June madness and xenophobia in South Africa.
On June 16, Zimbabwe will join the rest of Africa to commemorate Day of the African Child. This is the day when hundreds of black children were massacred by a white settler regime in South Africa in 1976. It was a black, sad day.
African governments did justice to the innocent souls by honouring this day and committing themselves to promoting children’s rights. All progressive movements in Zimbabwe salute these children who confronted the forces of darkness and injustice head-on. They did not die in vain. It is their blood that oiled the liberation struggle in South Africa. The same blood and spirit that today and forever will inspire young generations of this continent and beyond.
As Zimbabwe celebrates this day; we have to measure the moral commitment of our government in upholding the rights of children. We take stock of our performance and see nothing but abuse of children directly or indirectly. It is not an impressive history. The Zimbabwean political leadership especially those in Zanu PF just like in other African countries, want to use this day for political grandstanding and public posturing while young Africans languish in abject poverty.
For Africa, Zimbabwe included, children’s rights are still a pipe dream. They are better talked about than practised. As long as we remain entrenched in the culture of violence and hate language as a nation, we can not have the future we Nicodemasly preach. For as long as we have child labour and those deadly ZANU Pf youth Border Gezi training camps where innocent young people are polluted with politics of patronage, we remain a shadow of truth.
A nation like ours that has failed to instil moral values in children but continue to pretend all is well will see the results of its omissions and commissions in future generations. It is a fact that many young people have become victims of the present status where the “have” and powerful abuse the “have-not” and vulnerable. They are failing to access basics while the rich and affluent continue with their abusive and greedy ways. If children of the common cannot afford education, health care, decent meals and are forced to participate in programmes they see unfit for future development like the ZANU PF bases and Chipangano, then there are no rights to talk about.
June 16 aside; On June 6 in 1972; 427 lives were lost in a mine disaster at Wankie’s Kamandama mine. Their remains still lay in the shimmering coals. These were bread winners for families whose lives have never been the same again. Zimbabwe remembers horror and honours the victims.
In 2005, Zimbabwe became the world’s newsmaker when merciless Zanu PF descended on the homes of peace loving citizens. They looted property and destroyed the people’s dwellings forcing them to live in the cold. According to Zanu PF, these people were dirt (tsvina) and were supposed to be flushed out hence Operation Murambatsvina.
This was an operation launched by a party that purports to represent the people. It was spearheaded by Ignatius Chombo and Sekesai Makwavarara with the aid of the police and army. Although the operation started in May, it reached its peak in June therefore, it’s June and the chilly weather we will remember most.
It was the worst assault on people’s property and civil rights by a regime that was fighting for political survival as close to a million people were left homeless. It was an act of cruelty by a desperate government that was carrying out its mad and inhuman policies.
As millions were living in the cold, Makwavarara and Chombo were in the comfort of state and council mansions. The source of income for many families was destroyed and children of school going dropped out as Zanu PF was claiming to be people centred. Despite the satanic act by Zanu PF, Chombo the architect of Murambatsvina is still a minister while the affected are living in squalid conditions. They can neither forget nor forgive but wait for judgement day which will come soon.
Horror struck the nation again in 2008 after the watershed harmonised election on 29 March when Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF lost heavily to Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC. The people of Zimbabwe spoke but there was nobody to listen as a defiant and arrogant Mugabe refused to handover power. He instead declared war on the very people. It was not Uhuru as many had expected.
The whole world stood by as Mugabe’s madness got better of him just as it did during the Gukurahundi era of the early 80s.This was the Mugabe who claims to have fought a protracted war with the white settler regime to attain independence, who was turning the barrel on his kith and kin. Mugabe could not imagine leaving statehouse not even in the name of peace and democracy.
Zimbabwe was turned into a war zone as Mugabe unleashed his dogs of war on the peace loving citizens. They raped, maimed, killed and looted in the name of Zanu PF and patriotism and for Mugabe to remain in power. Armed with weird slogans (VaMugabe chete and Win or War; WW), Zanu PF, state security agents had a field day attacking real and perceived MDC supporters, innocent Zimbabweans who deserve to enjoy their democratic rights and freedoms of choice. This is a type of madness that reflects the true image of Zanu PF.
To those who fled to neighbouring South Africa for both economic and political refuge, failed to test relief as violence erupted (xenophobia) in South Africa in2009. Zimbabweans were targeted most by their South African counterparts. Property worth millions of dollars and lives were lost. Freedom at home and abroad was something much talked about but never existed to ordinary Zimbabweans.
No passage of time will heal this wound as Zimbabweans will forever remember the month of June and its litany of horrors.
Long live Zimbabwe; our beloved nation!!!
Nhamo Moyo is MDC Youth Assembly member based in Mkoba, Gweru.
Together to end,building a youth with a difference.