HARARE – The Americans have released damaging claims of who among Zimbabwe’s ruling class allegedly directed the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s, in which an estimated 20 000 innocent civilians were killed by the army mainly in Matabeleland and the Midlands.
According to declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that were released on Wednesday this week, very senior government and military officials — whose names the Daily News has opted to withhold — allegedly plotted at the time to annihilate Zapu and the Ndebeles, as Zanu PF sought to create a one-party State.
The reports further claimed that a rattled Zanu PF leadership also feared at the time that the then in power apartheid South Africa government, working with unrepentant Rhodesians, would join forces with the late revered Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo, to destabilise the new Zimbabwe government.
The released CIA documents also reveal how the USA viewed President Robert Mugabe’s new government in the early 1980s as a key player in regional peace-building efforts, as well as, bizarrely, in Washington’s fight against the Soviet Union during the Cold War era.
The Americans also feared then that Mugabe would be assassinated, and overtly and covertly worked to keep the nonagenarian in power to protect their interests.
The released documents also reveal in startling detail how the army allegedly “blocked all movement and stopped all food shipment into what was then a drought stricken region”, to starve perceived supporters of Nkomo.
The Americans claim that Zanu PF wanted to create a one-party state soon after independence, and the Gukurahundi massacres were an attempt at breaking “the will of the remainder of the Zapu leadership to resist absorption into a one-party State”.
“We believe Harare’s allegations that the dissidents are directly controlled by Zapu political leaders are untrue and that they are intended to provide justification for suppressing Nkomo and his party,” the documents say.
Although the Zimbabwe government has maintained a thick veil on Gukurahundi, the CIA reveals that the total number of dissidents who operated in the western parts of the country did not number more than 300 people.
“The 5th Brigade, the Presidential Guard, and the North Korean trained People’s militia — whose loyalty is first to the ruling party — were created to solidify Zanu political control over the military,” reads other parts of the CIA’s reports.