Emerging Writer Member Profile
Caron Moran is 3rd generation Zimbabwean (Rhodesia) born 1966, but she calls Ireland home. Married to Shane, they have a gang of children, three dogs, one domestic feline, 'Oh' and two feral cats. Caron is writing her memoir for their seven children.
Often I wonder if Robert sleeps peacefully ? Or do his comrades in arms, the thousands of ghosts from the Gukurahundi graves, together with his political rivals put to death in the name of his Dictatorship, haunt his dreams, accusing him.
Surely he cannot sleep peacefully.
Gukuranhundi ( "the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains)
Genocide Mr Mugabe, it happened, on your watch.
It was peace you promised
“Greetings, in the name of Freedom, I promise peace and security, I urge black and white to join, forget the grim past, forgive others, trample racialism and religionism, reinvigorate, rehabilitate. Join the armed forces as one, Zanla, Zipra and Zapu. Let us deepen our sense of belonging that knows no race colour or creed.”
Thats what you said Robert on your inauguration in March 1980.
Your comrades believed you. Those that fought against you believed it too. I, a thirteen year old girl believed you. Our land freed of terror.
We didn't see nor hear you Mr Mugabe as you made you way to Tongogara Base Camp seven months after a promise of peace. Still ringing loud, those good words, forget, forgiveness freedom, felt like a superior cake of soap, it washed away our trepidation. Lulled us into a sense of dependability. So we ignored the whispers of a new army, the ‘Fifth Brigade,’ or ‘Gukurahundi,’ answerable to you alone. Did you plan this during your struggle for liberation or was it your North Korean idol Kim Il Sung’s influence, ‘cleanse your nation Robert, look at me’. His men did arrive at Tongagrara Base Camp, full of sovereignty, purity and communism to share.
Was the uniform your idea? The Red Berets, Robert, was that the colour you intended to use in the washing away of malcontents.
We began to sober from your cocktail of confidence as you wrapped yourself securely with a blanket of flesh and metal, at home, and on your travels too. Your mighty motorcade on our roads, demanded right of way. Traffic and people fell sideways, freezing all movement, as you passed like a runaway train.
Your fear had become your peoples fear too.
I met you and your cavalcade, Robert, I hadn't heard the wailing alarm, the traffic light in my favour, green, green as my license. I had trespassed into a hive of angry men. Heavily armed, jeeps, police cars, more cars, motorbikes, and an ambulance, for you, dived around me. I had danced with death for a second but lived. Then I heard them, your motorbikes, coming for me. Two, wildly waving their pistols, in my direction. Clawing and bashing at my windows, their faces like hatred. “You fucking white bitch, you fucking murderer, pull over, or we’ll fucking shoot you, you cunt.” “Give us your keys, were coming back for you.” What terror did you live in Robert?
Your name, now, sounded like God, except we couldn't speak it, we gulped it inwards, it tasted like adrenaline.
The first sixty-two young souls from your ‘Gukuranhudi’, cleansing, must have called to you each night. Featureless frames, depriving your sleep, reminding you how they fell one by one into the mass graves on that day in March 1983. You must have heard them crying, ‘why us, we fought side by side for majority rule”
The souls of twenty-thousand added to your ingredients for baking your big fat Dictatorship.
More faces, more voices, more mania.
The terrorists were back, they travelled from one ‘sell outs’ village to another. Burning entire families in their huts, raping women, slicing their swollen bellies open. Relatives dug the grave and tossed down their dead. As the last scoop of earth fell, they heard, ’Dance or be shot’. It was to the rhythm of, Happy Robert songs the survivors patted down the mounds securing their loved ones.
They had learned Pamberi Ne Jongwe, forward with the cock, rooster. That was your symbol Robert, a rooster.
They, the dead, in the name of your dictatorship must rise each night and challenge you Robert. They were your comrades once.
Matabeleland, the south-west, had become your war Zone. That’s where my Aunt and Uncle lived once. Then your Red Beret men paid them a visit. No-one was home, but they waited.
Jack was driving. The land cruiser passed through the security gates, almost making it to the farmstead. When the bullets spewed through that jeep and it was your hand on those guns. The police reported that the man riding in the open back lost his life immediately and so did Joy. That was the word of the press, too, October 1985.
But Joys body, lay, strides away, ‘butchered’, was what the neighbour said. Maybe she had time to beg for her life. “Do you hear her Robert, begging for mercy when you close your eyes” Jack, tried hard, to live. He ripped the cruiser backwards towards freedom. At the gates, he swung round looking for the open road, your men closing in. He’d swung too soon, the bull bar hooked onto the gate post, it held fast, secured with concrete. Still, Jack looked for freedom slamming the two tons into drive. The earth tore beneath its power rearing up it braced against the post. Jack jumped and lived for another half a mile. An explosive bullet tore his head open. Your bullet.
The neighbour Martin, alerted by bush telegraph, travelled the twenty miles, ready for battle not burial. There he found his friends. ‘I could do nothing for them, but shut Joys eyes and pull down her skirt.’ Robert!
We wanted the safety peace and integration, you promised at our liberation. My eighteen year old gut twisted, churning up its history of fear, it tasted like vomit.
Martin found the murderers Robert, sixty miles away in a village, four of them. One killed in a flurry of bullets, three delivered into the law, your law, you owned it. Maybe that was the day you put a mark against Martin’s name?
You cleansed your land Robert, coveted your power and collected your prize, The Unity Accord of 1987, generously you announced amnesty to those that dared defy. Three years, it took you to disable your army. ‘Hostile fabrication’ you said of the foreign press, Robert, as they began to follow your scarlet trail. How quickly, you moved in 1990 to mop it all dry.
We lived the next decade watching you Robert, drink the nation wealth till it spiralled into grinding poverty. Poverty that grew a new ‘sell out’ a new party, an opposition that questioned your balances. You pointed at the farmers, ‘its them colonial ones, draining the coffers,’ It was your best millennium idea, a ‘land referendum’.
Your people said NO! Robert to your scapegoat. Our memories had failed us we had forgotten the “Gukurahundi”. You simply erased the no.
Remember Martin, Robert, he died in April 2000.
Seventy of your men, fourteen vehicles and a trailer piled with men wielding crude weaponry, some had guns, other fence cutters, they'd come for his farm. Martin, fought hard for the freedom you promised. A single-handed battle that lasted three hours. Finally your men dragged him out and this is what his aged mother said ‘they killed my son, they beat him to a pulp’
In the thirty-seventh year of your rule Robert, I got a whiff of a coup, from many miles away. I followed the events in November 2017.
An army generals voice stated from the national radio station, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, that they were in control. Ninety-three years old Robert, they told you its time to rest. Stay at home.
‘A military coup Robert, in your land how was this peaceful’. I called my mother she’s your neighbour, Robert, she assured me, its business as usual Caron. Live footage rolled across the miles Robert right onto my page. Did you see them, moving against you towards hope. I watched each video, I wanted to see a face I knew, recognise the places I had lived.Thousands walked their streets, in every corner of the country, filled with exuberant energy, intoxicating their heads, and still they were peaceful. They protested in dance, song and chant that sounded like joy. I wanted to march too.
Headlines where I live Robert read ‘ZIMBABWE IN CHOAS’.
Of course it did, this is where you have dictated Robert, with metal over your people. You forgot your, greeting in the name of Freedom, they never did.
The placards, waved gently, not one called for “the blood of a Mugabe man”.
Robert you gave your people freedom once, they hadn’t forgotten. ‘Impeachment Robert or sign,’ villain or hero. I wonder Robert did you feel your throat tighten, your eyes well or your chest swell? How did you feel Robert as you watched your people united as one in Unity Square praying together, black, white and coloured, praying to forget your grim past, to forgive you, to reinvigorate, to rehabilitate, to deepen their sense of belonging and to unite further. This is how your people ‘washed away the old chaff before the spring rain’.
Your Zimbabweans sang danced and prayed while the military ran the six day show.
Then you signed Robert Gabriel Mugabe on the goodbye line, 21 November 2017.
I cried like i’d lost somebody dear.
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