“Outspoken Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa is back in the spotlight claiming that Joice Mujuru failed to protect female combatants abused by senior male officers during the war,” read the report.
I salute Comrade Chris Mutsvangwa for flagging this issue. For all the man-years of speeches and thousands of square kilometres of written articles, reports and stories by leaders like President Mugabe on the heroics of the our liberation war heroes and heroines, “Magamba urusunguniko”, one who be hard pressed to find anything about the sexual abuse our female folk, some as young as 9 years old, suffered at the hands of Magamba!
I am disappointed by Mutsvangwa’s selective memory; it was not only the combatant women and girls who were sexually abused during the liberation war. Anyone who has bothered to find out about the goings on during the liberation war would know that it was normal for young women and girls, vana Chimbwido, to be stay at the base with Magamba for weeks on end. I hope that Comrade Mutsvangwa does not think Chimbwidos spent all these weeks messaging Magamba’s tired feet only!
The problem with war vets like Chris Mutsvangwa is that they believe all those who carried the gun, Magamba, are a cut above everyone else. The women combatants who were sexual abused suffered but the Chimbwidos who too were sexually abused did not suffer, they enjoyed it and Magamba were doing them a great favour!
The sexual abuse of our women folk, regardless of whether they were Magamba carrying guns or Chimbwido feeding the fighting comrades, is the dark side of our liberation war must discussed openly and not swept under the carpet. The abuse was a historic fact worthy of being covered as the more glorious stories of Mai Mujuru shooting down the enemy helicopter!
"As a party, we do not want to be dragged into a personal fight between Mujuru and Mutsvangwa, so we will not comment," said Rugare Gumbo, the spokesperson of Mujuru’s ZimPF party.
The comment must be dismissed with the contempt it rightly deserves; the sexual abuse of our women during the war is not a personal issue but a national one worthy of our serious scrutiny.
It is not just Mai Mujuru who let our women folk down, the rest of the Zanu PF high command did! The duty of care for the rights and dignity of our women was not Joice Mujuru’s responsibility alone. Mutsvangwa should be demanding answers from VP Mnangagwa and President Mugabe alike, if he is being sincere.
Indeed the spotlight must shine on the dark, the sexual abuse, even more than on positive not just for historic record but more significantly so that we learn from the mistakes. If Magamba committed serious crimes then endless speeches portraying them as nothing short of infallible gods is completely false!
Magamba are fallible mortals like everyone else and the sooner people like Chris Mutsvangwa and President Mugabe get off their high horses riding roughshod over the nation’s freedoms, human rights and human dignity under the false pretence that they are the infallible Magamba the sooner the nation can address the big issues of corruption, vote rigging, etc. affecting the nation.