analysisBy Lance Guma
The manner in which mass graves are being 'discovered' and bodies exhumed from various disused mines in the country is raising more questions than it is providing answers, various commentators have said.
The Fallen Hero's Trust, an obscure group aligned to ZANU PF, claims to have discovered 19 mass graves in the Mount Darwin district, with the remains of what it says are thousands of people massacred by the white minority regime before independence and thrown into the Monkey William Mine in Bembera village.
Just like the anti-sanctions petition ZANU PF have carefully coordinated the exhumations, giving them prime time viewing on national television. The plan is said to involve whipping up emotions against the West for past atrocities committed by the Rhodesian regime and tie this in with the West's targeted sanctions against members of the Mugabe regime.
But questions have begun to emerge that raise doubts about whether the bodies being exhumed are those of people killed before independence, or after. In the eighties Mugabe's crack 5th brigade troops massacred close to 20 000 people in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces, while thousands of MDC supporters have been killed in the nearly 12 years the party has been in existence.
When diamonds where discovered in the Chiadzwa fields of the Marange district, the army quickly moved and began slaughtering hundreds of illegal panners, using helicopter gunships. Reports began to emerge of ZANU PF attempts to bury the bodies but council after council refused to give permission for any mass burials. Its speculated the bodies were eventually quietly disposed of.
Some of the bodies being exhumed and shown on television still had hair and clothes intact and dripping body fluids. Questions are being raised about how can they be people killed 32 years ago. The manner of the exhumations has also been criticized for having no proper pathology or DNA testing to determine the identity of the bodies. The bodies are just being placed in a heap on the site with no proper handling.
Shockingly the NewsDay newspaper reports that schoolchildren, teachers and villagers were last Friday "forced to go underground and view the bodies so that they would appreciate the extent of the brutalities of the Rhodesian army."
This 'propaganda at all costs mentality' has been highly criticized as nothing more than child abuse. Children should never be subjected to the horrific viewing of dead bodies.