Matabeleland spared from post-2000 violence, Mukoko explains
By Nkosana Dlamini
The three Matabeleland provinces, which bear the brunt of the Gukurahundi atrocities which claimed 20 000 back in the early 1980s, have largely been spared the post-2000 state sponsored violence episodes that have killed hundreds of mainly opposition supporters.
This is according to monthly rights violations reports produced by the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP).
In the ZPP June report, Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South provinces had the least of violations compared to the other seven provinces.
Similarly, the 2008 presidential run-off violence was mainly concentrated in other provinces except for Matabeleland.
In an interview with Zimstar News Tuesday, ZPP executive director Jestina Mukoko said the trend could be a deliberate attempt by the Zanu PF led government to placate a restive population in Matabeleland which is still smarting from the Gukurahundi atrocities.
Mukoko said Zanu PF could be thinking that since Matabeleland was somewhat taken over by MDC, it may not be worth investing time and resources to pummel people into supporting the ruling party.
Zanu PF, according to ZPP reports, is among the leading perpetrators of politically motivated violence, apart from the police and the army.
“It would seem Zanu PF had given up on Matabeleland. It’s like they have said, ‘you can have it (Matabeleland)’,” she said.
“Zanu PF saw it was no match for MDC and that is why it then started pegging fewer constituencies in the provinces as an election strategy.”
Mukoko added, “It could also be that since Zanu PF is trying to sort out Gukurahundi issues, it sees this cannot go hand in hand with state sponsored violence in Matabeleland.”
Mukoko was however quick to warn that cases of politically motivated violence could increase as the country heads for the 2023 elections.
She said the continued theft and vandalism targeted at the Bhalagwe plaques could be a sign Zanu PF will no longer brook a Matabeleland that, as it would seem, does not fall into line.