In his article, If we do not end the rule of the junta, the misery of Zimbabwe will continue (9 August), David Coltart makes an unanswerable argument that in addition to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s well-known responsibility for the Gukurahundi massacres of isiNdebele-speakers between January 1983 and June 1984 (rightly described as “crimes against humanity” by Coltart), the president-incumbent is like “lipstick on a pig” – with the pig being the military junta which rules Zimbabwe as a dictatorship.
After the Zambian government deported the veteran Zimbabwean opposition leader Tendai Biti back to Zimbabwe on Thursday after he had fled in fear for his life, there is no excuse to sanctify this ongoing criminal regime.
The ANC government has no right in terms of the Constitution of South Africa or the ANC’s founding principle of anti-tribalism to turn itself into another layer of lipstick on the pig.
In the preface to its study, Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace stated that “at least 30,000 died countrywide, although real numbers of dead could be more than double this figure”.
In her introduction to the 2007 edition, Elinor Sisulu, the daughter-in-law of liberation heroes Walter and Adelaide Sisulu, wrote:
“As I read this report, I felt a deep sense of shame about my own silence.”
She said that the perpetrators – meaning not only deposed president Robert Mugabe but Mnangagwa, his vice president, retired general Constantino Chiwenga, his minister of lands, marshal Perence Shiri, and foreign minister, brigadier general Sibusiso Moyo – had a vested interest in maintaining their silence.
“But what about the rest of us who lived through those years and continued our lives as if nothing was happening?” Sisulu asked.
Elinor Sisulu wrote that during those terrible years when men, women, children and babies were slaughtered by the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade of the Zimbabwe National Army, the eyes and ears of the international community were closed. But so were the eyes and ears of the ANC.
That was during the final decade of apartheid, more than 30 years ago, when the ANC was based in exile and fighting a violent struggle against the apartheid regime.
There is no excuse any longer.
Before Ramaphosa gives his endorsement, the general election in Zimbabwe in late July needs proper international scrutiny, as do Coltart’s accusations of mass murder and mass robbery from the Zimbabwean people by the military junta.
The time for wide-scale political protest in South Africa against the criminal regime to the north is NOW. No more lipstick on the pig from South Africa. No more closed eyes and ears.
The shame of Elinor Sisulu is a rebuke to the whole of South Africa.
Ramaphosa must not go.
Let South Africa recover its honour. DM
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