I am not an ex-dissident: Former ZPRA combatant

Former ZPRA fighter, Vincent Hillary Ndlovu, who was persecuted by the state during Gukurahundi has said he is not an ex-dissident and there were never dissidents in Zimbabwe at the time they were said to have existed.

Late former president Robert Mugabe deployed the North-Korean-trained Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland and the Midlands purportedly to deal with dissidents’ activities.

Ndlovu, the author of a recently published book – “Seeking Freedom and Justice: Loyal but not Docile” – that touches on the emotive issue that remains unresolved, was giving an online public lecture Thursday during the ongoing CITE Asakhe Film Festival.

The festival which began Monday and ends tomorrow is aimed at contributing towards national healing and reconciliation in Zimbabwe.

“I am going to talk about the dissidents’ story,” said Ndlovu.

“I would like to correct some misconceptions and that is very pertinent to understanding the subject matter.  For reasons best known to themselves, some media houses or their publications have deliberately taken it upon themselves to write and publish falsehoods without even bothering to verify with their sources and this seems to follow the same malicious pattern that has been applied for the past 40 years to continue misinforming the world about the post-independence history especially the so-called dissident issue.”

Ndlovu further said: “This ongoing onslaught has of late manifested itself in the form of an article that originally appeared in the Standard, Zimbabwe of 17 October 2021, titled “Ex-dissident pens Gukurahundi book” and as if that was not malicious enough, the opening line of the same article describes me as an exiled ZPRA ex-combatant and former dissident. Sadly enough, other publications including online ones, picked it up and joined the chorus to splash it all over, just as it was though at least they had to exercise courtesy of acknowledging the original source of the story.”

The ex-ZPRA combatant who now lives in the United Kingdom said there is no way he should be referred to as a former dissident.

“I would like to categorically state that I cannot be said to be an ex-dissident simply because either by definition or intent there were never any dissidents in Zimbabwe at the time they are alleged to have existed,” he said.

“I have even tried so hard to understand why for over 40 years now with numerous researches, interviews, theses, reports and all the information in the public domain, it’s ZANU-PF’s definition of a dissident that started-off as an excuse to justify the massacre of the people of Matabeleland and the Midlands which instead of being challenged has been adopted even by scholars as an acceptable definition. It is even unbelievable that so many of those scholars who seem to have taken it upon themselves to major in this subject could have missed this anomaly and decided to overlook it without their conscience being troubled.”

He further explained: “I would like to let the world know that for now I am a full-fledged and patriotic Zimbabwean citizen who is also a registered voter, who happens to reside in the United Kingdom just like the multitudes who are scattered all over the world whose ranks may even include former members of the Fifth Brigade who might not have the medium call them ex-Gukurahundi this, ex-Gukurahundi that at any time.”

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