Many of the ills which have afflicted Zimbabwe are attributable to failure by authorities to perform post-war cleansing ceremonies, a former ZPRA cadre has posited.
Jeremy Brickhill, who served in the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZPRA) during the liberation war, made the remarks during the ongoing 2018 Transitional Justice Policy Symposium currently in Bulawayo.
Brickhill said as per the African culture, there should be a cleansing to revoke evil spirits after a disaster or war.
Former President Mugabe allegedly refused to conduct a cleansing ceremony saying he was busy.
“Edgar Tekere described how it had been agreed that a ceremony to address these issues, to commemorate the dead and cleanse the survivors, would be held and that immediately after independence, as Secretary-General of ZANU (PF), he made all the necessary preparations and then informed Mugabe of the plans.”
“According to Tekere, Mugabe responded by saying he was too busy and a furious row ensued. Tekere stormed out the office, banging the door”, alluded Brickhill.
He said the Government of Zimbabwe did not address these deeply significant issues, leading to the ills befalling the country.
“Gravesites remained unmarked and cleansing ceremonies never took place. Many of the families of liberation war veterans who failed to return home after independence continued the hunt for their missing children for decades,” he said.
Brickhill claimed ZPRA then made efforts to address the issue, acting on instructions issued by the late ZPRA Commander, Lookout Masuku, shortly before he died on 6 April 1986.
“Having been released from detention to a hospital bed Masuku gave instructions concerning commemoration and propitiation of the ZPRA war dead, including proposals for the establishment of shrines.
“Many of the families of liberation war veterans who failed to return home after independence continued the hunt for their missing children for decades,” he said.
He said ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa also had an encounter with a spirit medium who said rural people are suffering because soldiers were not cleansed.
“It was whilst on a visit to one such proposed site at Pupu in Lupane, where a Mwali shrine was located, that Dabengwa was told by the spirit medium of the shrine that: “Mwali (the High God) was angry because the soldiers of the liberation war had still not come to be cleansed of their sins committed during the war.”
“According to the custodian the suffering which rural people had endured since independence was the result of this failure to deal with the legacy of the war,” he said.
Zimbabwe is facing economic upheavals and continues accidents which have killed more than 100 people this month.