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Zimbabwe has culture and tradition of political dialogue to solve its long standing conflicts……. …….Africa has gone the same path

July 11, 2021

By Nevson Mpofu

Former President Robert Mugabe with Joshua Nkomo (right).Photo credit BBC

Dialogue to solve political conflicts amid scuffling percussions of hostile ferment , fued and civil unrest and strife looks like is…the way for countries in Africa like Mozambique , South Africa ,  DRC , Sudan,  Ethiopia ,Cameroon and at most Zimbabwe .

Such is the African story always told as African heritage , History and part of the media at infant stage . To a worse and greater undulating extent Zimbabwe goes through the history of civil unrest , political turmoil and economic meltdown caused by politics even up to now .It has gone through repeated dialogues , discussions  under the Rhodesian rule .One successful dialogue is the Lancaster House of 1979 in London Britain. This led to  Zimbabwe’s end of protracted battle  between ZANU , ZAPU Patrotic Fronts versus UDI ,Unilateral Declaration for Independence led by Douglas Ian Smith .

The late liberation father Dr Joshua Nkomo , the late commander of Zimbabwe’s Liberation fighters General Josiah Tongogara who was assassinated on 26 December 1979 while returning home from Mozambique together with the  beleagued and deceased Robert Mugabe congregated at the lancaster house to discuss way forward for independence of  by then Rhodesia which became known as Zimbabwe in 1980.

The late Zimbabwe liberation icon Josiah Tongogara assured white people led by Ian Smith that guerrillas ,that is liberation fighters would get back to fight in the bush if no clear agreement was made on the table .

“”We are ready to get back into the bush to fight until we are all as Africans independent . We want to win the struggle and get in control of our soil and mineral resources . If you hear that Josiah Tongogara is dead then Zimbabwe

is finally liberated””

At Lancaster house asked what was his feeling about who was fit to rule the country , General Josiah Tongogara pointed and said openely Joshua Nkomo who led ZIPRA forces that is ZAPU PF was fit  to rule because of his long history in liberation and famous political role and popularity .

“” I feel it Joshua Nkomo is capable and fit because of his long standing history in liberation struggle way back in the 1960’s.””

Such was the enunciation that heavily riled  some ZANU PF comrades like Robert Mugabe , Simon Muzenda , Kumbirai Kangai , Solomon Mujuru and a few of them Emmerson Mnangagwa who is related to the Tongogara family is among a few liberation war heroes who never took hand in Tongogara death . A few days before independence , General Tongogara was pronounced dead in Mozambique on the heavy clouded dark night of  26 december 1979 .

Unity Accord of 1987 , 22 December .

Seven (7) years down the line up to 1987 Robert Mugabe who was the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and Joshua Nkome rounded tables to discuss wayforward on what was best four the country to attain ever long lasting peace and unity . Since 1980 there were protracted battles , rebellions between ZANU PF and ZAPU PF.

Since then Mugabe had been praying and singing songs of peace , unity , reconcilliation of all Zimbabweans .His style for settlement of any dispute was bent on fighting for peace , unity , oneness and reconcilliation with the white settlers who occupied 80% of Zimbabwean land doing business activities related to farming , mining , manufacturing and more .

“” We won our independence through dialogue with white settlers whom we need to have reconcilliation with . We need to forgive each other and mantain values of peace , unity and reconcilliation.”” Mugabe had the tactical hoodwinking tongue to settle down for peace.

Gukurahundi a protracted struggle , friction and ferment between the two Liberation parties led to the death of in total 20,000 people in the western region of the country in Matebeleland north and south prorovinces .

Robert Mugabe unleashed military and political despotic hostility  to remain in power ..

In the first five years of-his power in office Robert Mugabe  instructed  and was advised to recruit Paramilitary troops through-out the country . These were fastly trained soldiers to strike defeat against ZAPRA forces. The civil war which errupted lasted for about four to five years .

There  was much of destruction in terms of infrastructure , human death , kidnappings , human rights abuses and lagged development . Joshua Nkomo upon realisation he had failed to remove Mugabe out of power called for peace negotuation in 1987 . This was successful in the month of December . Robert Mugabe had always liked to sit down and talk to Nkomo over peace settlement . Why it was important and the main reason for unity accord with him.

Mugabe by the end of the decade was brushed in pure black that he was tyrrant , despotic , militantly cruel for his self gain to stay afloat in political power . He was a military and political genius , an incomparable  intelligensia who had close ties with the army , police , central intelligence and  government security  agents who took security of him and his family .

Mugabe was known for unaccountable number of persons who disapeared in the hands of members of the central intelligence operatives , army interferance and barrings and blockings done to Opposition especially MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirayi .

There are two main political parties that were formed by former Minister and ZANU PF heavy political weights who failed to topple Mugabe from 1985 .The first was ZUM , Zimbabwe Unity Movement by Edgar Tekere who resisted Mugabe’s political tactics power greedy and long time stay in power . After he lost election in 1985 he was overtaken by Zimbabwe Union of Democrats  led by Margret Dongo a lady ..

These two lost the battle of psycho-military intelligence and political gymnastics to tople Mugabe who had strengthened muscles in military , police and central intelligence . Mugabe would have admired dialogue if any was negotiated . He loved peace for his own protection and the people if he still remained in power . He admired unity for the union of political parties to remain praying him , respect , integrity and dignity accorded on him.

The most bitting time in his political power ..

There is only one party that shaked Mugabe in power in his life time . The political genius was shaken for a fall in 1999 when MDC formed by Morgan Tsvangirayi a trade unionist inspired job stayaways , marches and several uprisings until a referundum was called for in 2002 .

The yes , no referrundum failed to be in favour of ZANU pf hands forcing Mugabe to  turn to the Lancaster House  of 1979 . The agreement was that blacks would take control of their land resources 20 years after independence on a willing buyer willing seller agreement . Politically inspired Zimbabweans rushed for land invasion forcing out of farms thousands of  some 4500 White commercial farmers who were of good quality production on land .

The long struggle , fued, civil -unrest caused by the two led to the unity

accord of September 9 2009 that arose through a thourough discussion between the two political parties . This was Zimbabwe’s last dialogue . Close to a decade after this Robert Mugabe was finally forced to leave power in 2017 by his vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Army ,Police generals.

Africa has had negotiations like in South Africa betwwen Nelson Mandela and Buthelezi of Inkatha from  KwaZulu Natal after 27 April 1994 at its independence. Mozambique has gone through a long civil war from 1975 .Samora Machel who was a despotic leader like Mugabe it is said assascinated Eduardo Mondlane to take on leadership by force. Since then Alfonse Matsanga Ndhlakhama leader of Mozambique opposition party has been strongly fighting Frelimo. Some  negotiations have settled it down amicably bringing short lasting peace . However , the war rages on in the war torn country of approximately 21 million population. Theree is still need for peace agreements following peace disturbances , conflicts and civil displacements in Cabo Delgabo.

Robert Mugabe with opposition challenger Morgan Tsvangira. Photo credit BBC

Pathetic to say isn the situation in Sudan until a time  the country divided , north and south Sudan . The dusturbing force of frictional wind in the south is cause for peaceful settlement to draw everlasting peace and unity of two leaders in political and leadership unendless wrangle like the one which was between Ethiopia and Eritrea took time to settle .

Africa has gone through peace negotiations in some other countries like Sierra Leone , DRC , Angola , Somalia ,Kenya and Zimbabwe at large . Africa is still yet to solve its feuds and long standing political conflicts and disturbances . Thisis the long hisory of colonial disputes , political internal civil conflicts , unrest and clahes among tribes eyeing resources , land , wealth of minerals and political leadership .

*Nevson Mpofu writes from Harare, Zimbabwe.The views are those of the author.

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