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Mahmood Mamdani in skirts the Gukurahundi, never named, and completely dismisses the extent of it at some level:

"The Shona-Ndebele divide so conspicuous in the two guerrilla movements produced great tension after independence between the mainly Shona government and the mainly Ndebele labour movement, with Mugabe's ferocious repression in Ndebele areas in 1986 remaining the bloodiest phase in post-independence Zimbabwean history."

But Gukurahundi began in 1981 and it was at its worst, if I recall, between 1983 and 1985 -- though 1986 was no picnic for the Ndebeles. It continued in "relaxed" forms from 1986 to 1990 and into the next decade. Mamdani paints it as something that happened in 1986. He doesnt call it genocide, which it was/is.

Later Mamdani (recent citation on Zimbabwe) says:
"The first casualty was the rule of law, already tenuous by 1986."

Why 1986? This is like the recent book by gerard Prunier on Congo that cites the beginning of the war as 1998. There's something at work here, and its called "interests."

Perhaps the best analyses from which to situate Mugabe is that by UCSD professor Francis Njubi Nesbitt, whose definitions of collaborators with white power would cast Mugabe in the "comprador class".

An excellent article, especially for white people. Of course, Njubi doesn't get into the "silences" produced by Mahmood Mamdani, especially as pertains to the great lakes. (Mamdani was --is? -- very close to Museveni and Kagame and Jacques Depelchin).