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Of the Kambarami fiasco and Ndebele-Shona issues

29 Jul 2019 at 08:16hrs | Views
It's just been a few weeks since the Deputy Mayor of the City of Bulawayo Mr. Tinashe Kambarami decided to fire the town clerk, Mr. Christopher Dube, in a move that would make Kambarami an internet sensation and a celebrity over a few hours. The follow up move by Kambarami to try and physically eject the clerk from his office elicited sharp tongued responses from the clerk. In a comical move, we've seen Madlela on the phone calling that clerk to check if he could get the sharp salvos and word bullets and probably use them on that monster ZESA which is in the habit of terrorizing the citizens day and night. Despite all these other side-shows and fun drawn out of the whole fiasco, the more serious issue reflected by the reactions from the people is the depth of tribal tensions in our community. Firstly, the very move by this Kambarami fellow to take such a gigantic decision is a very strange one. Particularly without the Mayor, the City's highest office, endorsing it. It's a move akin to the Chiwenga one - the vice-president firing the all the nurses in the absence of or rather without consultation with the president. A Chiwenga-esque decision. It is all that gave birth to the narrative that the Kambabrami-Dube was, more than anything else, a tribal affair.

The move invoked reactions of all kinds; chiefly, stoking the Ndebele-Shona tribal issues. Another Shona had risen to destroy uBulawayo and take the Ndebeles for granted in their own backyard. Too many people, it would appear that the issue of strained Ndebele-Shona relations is fallacy, something nonexistent but just a headless narrative. The Kambarami issue however demonstrates that not all is fine; in fact things are bad. Very bad. Whenever tribal fires are rekindled, it brings to the fore many problematic matters, particulary the Gukurahundi subject. Among many other legacies left behind by Mugabe, the strained Ndebele-Shona relations rank among the most salient of his destructive policies. Mugabe was a very dubious character. A character who allowed his desire for power to influence all of his decisions; placing the welfare of the people, unity, development and every other thing last on his list of priorities. Gukurahundi has been a problematic topic since the 5th brigade driven mass killings occurred. Despite many other reasons, it is should be considered that with Gukurahundi, Mugabe was simply consolidating his power and setting the table for his decades long hegemony.

The ZAPU and ZIPRA machine had been a big problem for Mugabe and his Zanu-PF. It made Joshua Nkomo very powerful and Mugabe insecure and this powerful political juggernaut had to be crushed. Hence the use of both the intellectuals and the not so good thinkers in ZANU to design and subsequently plant the ‘dissidents' problem' that would necessitate army deployment and the resulting ravaging and annihilation of the perceived ZAPU strongholds, causing the killing of influential ZAPU strongmen and civilized looting of ZAPU properties and in the process driving the final nails into ZAPU's coffin. While it is probably very true that Mugabe used Gukurahundi for self-preservation and simply consolidating his power. It is not really known whether he had a genuine hate for the Ndebeles. It is also not really known whether the ‘Grand Plan´ to eliminate or at least sideline amaNdebele and their region really exists and if it is still has life in it. What is known, however is that ZANU – up to date - has ducked the Gukurahundi question whenever possible and using whatever method and this makes it all strange. If it is just history and ‘water under the bridge' then why not acknowledge what happened in the past, apologise and makeup for whatever and move on?

Mugabe called it 'a moment of madness'; if it really was one then why not come out clean and do whatever is necessary to heal and unite the people and not let Kambarami-like issues keep opening wounds?

Now that Mugabe is gone, the buck stops with the current president, luckily he was there and part of what happened. He should be in a good position to do something. The reluctance to close the case could be seen as a statement to say it's not over just yet. Rightfully so, the ideological descendants of Mugabe are still up and run affairs in the country; and probably pushing the agenda into the future. A glance at what is happening in our communities will show that both Ndebele and Shona can peacefully coexist. In fact, there so many Shona people born and bred in Matabeleland. They speak and live the Ndebele way so much that the only outstanding features that can still be linked to their Shona heritage are their names and surnames. It should never have been hard for this administration to close that chapter. Maybe the chance is still there, or maybe it's not – time will tell. 

Source - Mandla Tshuma
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