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It's not an offence to advocate for regime change

26 Aug 2020 at 07:12hrs | Views
EAR Mr President,

A few hours ago, I was just going through articles that I wrote over the past years having embarked on this very long, torrid and perilous journey in 1989 when I started contributing social justice writings to Kwekwe-based newspapers, largely triggered by witnessing aspects of the Zimbabwe regime's cold-hearted Gukurahundi massacres in my neighbourhood, at the age of 11 in 1984, and the rabid corruption that was slowly, but surely, collapsing our beloved country.

What I found rather worrying, though, was a long history of a very disturbing pattern by the country's ruling elitist class, characterised by persistent denials, accusations, and deception. What immediately stood out for me was the propensity to blame others for problems that were clearly entrenched within the ruling Zanu-PF party itself.

I noticed, much to my chagrin, the citing of an "illegal regime change" plot has always been employed as justification to unleash untold ruthless atrocities against ordinary citizens from as far as the dawn of "independent" Zimbabwe in 1980.

In fact, the genocide perpetrated by the regime against mainly Ndebele-speaking people of the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces, between 1982 and 1987 whereby over 20 000 unarmed and defenceless men, women, and children were butchered in cold-blood by the North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade was supposedly in response to a militant insurgency intended to effect "illegal regime change", with apartheid South Africa, and former Rhodesians (white inhabitants of Zimbabwe during the colonial era), being fingered as the sponsors and planners.

However, as it turned out, according to reports, not only were there actually less than a few hundreds of these "dissidents", but most of those identified were not even Ndebele, nor was there proof of any links with the accused entities.

Thus, what was the real motive behind the ruling junta's wanton killing, maiming, rape, torture, and arrest of the thousands upon thousands of Ndebele people?

Fast forward to the post-2000 years after the formation of the opposition MDC, which nearly walloped the ruling party during the June general elections the same tired "illegal regime change" yarn was rekindled as an excuse to evoke the usual sadistic and abominable unrestrained murderous spree, especially after the then President Robert Gabriel Mugabe was defeated by MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai in the 2008 presidential elections whereby, the military and party militias killed hundreds of the latter's supporters.

As I went through my articles, it was amazing how often Mugabe and his party functionaries appeared genuinely concerned about foreign-funded "illegal regime change" agenda planned with the willing assistance of so-called local "sellouts", who always happened to be members of the opposition.

I am sure that, all those who heard Mugabe ranting and raving about these "foreign machinations" at every platform he was afforded an opportunity to speak be it locally or on international fora such as the Southern Africa Development Community, African Union, Non-Aligned Movement or United Nations would have no difficulty, at all, believing that the old man, widely regarded as a Pan-Africanist revolutionary, was genuinely under siege from those not happy about the country's independence.

However, events of November 2017 should have caught all these people by surprise if not shock as it turned out that those planning an illegal regime change against the long-time iron-fisted tyrant were neither the opposition, nor foreign countries, but his own Zanu-PF party, including his trusted right-hand men and women whom he had held in high esteem for decades, dating back to the days of the country's liberation struggle.

The question comes up again: So, why did all those innocent and defenceless opposition supporters die, lose limps, had their homes burnt, get abducted, sexually abused, tortured, and arrested on trumped-up charges, usually bordering on treason when the true agents of illegal regime change were right under his (Mugabe's) nose?

We move to the current tense and volatile situation in Zimbabwe where the very same people who have the unenviable record of being the only ones to ever stage an illegal regime change in the country's history through a coup d'etat have resurrected all of Mugabe's tirades and repressive tendencies under the pretext of fighting a foreign-sponsored illegal regime change agenda.

Over the recent past, there has been a worrying resurgence of reports of arrests, abductions, beatings, torture, and sexual abuse of largely opposition, human rights, and labour activists, lawyers, and journalists as well as vitriolic attacks on clergymen accused of being bent on illegal regime change.

Without attempting to absolve anyone of any crime that they are being accused of as that would be mischievous and irresponsible considering that I am not privy to their activities, nor have I knowledge of their real motives in their overt or covert operations. Nonetheless, what is not a secret is that the Zimbabwe regime's untrustworthy and dark past does not inspire much confidence.

Zimbabweans and the rest of the world have heard these accusations before with the associated barbarous and savage response only to discover that there was not even a single shred of evidence against such individuals, and as it turned out, for all to see, the illegal regime change merchants were nowhere in the opposition, civil society, nor the church but were sitting right next to the country's then President.

Mr President, as the people of Zimbabwe who have endured four decades of relentless repression, brutality and impoverishment at the hands of your party, we have had more than enough of these lame excuses being used to justify callous subjugation of those sincerely standing up and speaking out against injustices perpetrated ostensibly to defend the country from "terrorists", "sellouts", and "dark forces", yet the real culprits could very well be wining and dining with those in power.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author and speaker. Contact him on mbofana.

Source - newsday
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