Africa’s version of Hitler - former Zimbabwean tyrant Robert Mugabe - has gone to meet his Maker. In spite of the supposed state send-off for Madman Mugabe, religious commentator, Dr John Coulter, in his Fearless Flying Column today urges Irish Christians to use orphanage fund-raising campaigns in a bid to eradicate the genocide legacy of Mugabe.
Irish Christians, whether fundamentalists, evangelicals or liberals, must step up the pressure on the current Zimbabwean political leadership by hosting fund-raising events to build orphanages in that strife-torn nation so that the genocidal legacy of Robert Mugabe is airbrushed from that country’s history.
Zimbabwe, like many African nations, has an HIV crisis which is rapidly spiralling out of control.
And there was the perception that tyrant Mugabe was either unwilling, or unable, to combat the situation during his dictatorial reign of terror.
The anniversary of the bloody Vumba massacre of Christian missionaries took place earlier this summer.
On 23 June, 1978, around two dozen of Mugabe-supporting Patriotic Front terrorists ambushed the missionary outpost in the Vumba mountains in Northern Zimbabwe, then known as Northern Rhodesia.
Nine missionaries and four children, including a three-week old baby, were butchered by the PF gang using axes and other weapons. Just as Texans fighting for independence raised the battle cry, ‘Remember the Alamo’, so too, must all Christians across Ireland yell the chant ‘Remember the Vumba!’
Fundamentalists, evangelicals and liberals must commemorate the massacre by staging a series of fund-raising events across Ireland to raise cash for the orphanages.
An Irish fundamentalist told me last night:
This is a real opportunity to help the HIV babies of Zimbabwe. Christian missionaries who do return from the country are bringing horrific tales of babies born with HIV being tossed alive into the sewers.
And any uninfected virgin child is at risk from HIV, as the local Zimbabwean witch doctors are telling people with HIV that can ‘cure’ themselves of AIDS by sleeping with a virgin – the younger, the better.
We as Irish Christians can help this situation even though Zimbabwe is thousands of miles from Ireland. We can fund the building of orphanages to care for HIV babies which Mugabe refused to build during his reign of terror.
I was highly impressed with Morgan Tsvangirai when he spoke in Belfast some time ago about his hopes for Zimbabwe if he was ever elected president. Unfortunately for the people of Zimbabwe, he died last year and ZANU-PF’s Emmerson Mnangagwa is now the president. I wish it had been Morgan’s successor, Nelson Chamisa, who was elected.
Morgan’s words in Belfast inspired a lot of us and must now spur us into action to do something constructive to help Zimbabwe’s HIV babies. We must talk positively about Morgan’s lasting legacy rather than dwelling on Mugabe’s legacy of hate and pain.
If ever we get the power-sharing Executive at Stormont back, we need a motion in the Chamber marking the Vumba massacre – the single biggest loss of missionaries during the bush war with the PF terrorists.
Such a motion must emphasise that, according to witnesses, the missionaries were praying for their killers as they died, that since then, several of those terrorists have become Christians, and the work that the missionaries started is being carried on today by Zimbabwe nationals.
It is not known if the current Zimbabwean government ever intends to mark the anniversary of the notorious Vumba massacre by publicly apologising for the deaths at the United Nations, which were carried out by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF supporters.
At the very least, the post Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe should make each 23 June a National Vumba Memorial Commemoration Day. Zimbabwe is known throughout the African world for its poverty and corruption.
If the current government was to honour the Vumba victims with an annual National Day of Mourning, it could act as a benchmark to remember other Christian missionaries massacred for their faith, not just in Africa, but right throughout the globe.
Many of the former colonial powers in Africa have granted independence to those nations which once formed an integral part of their empires. In those countries which retained colonial models of democracy, they are managing to combat the ravages of hunger, thirst and poverty.
However, in those nations which have reverted to former pre-colonial tribal politics, most of those countries have not flourished, but have become engulfed in civil war, slaughter and corruption.
Perhaps the time has now come for the former colonial nations to move back into Africa and re-establish a form of democracy which will see the citizens of these poverty-stricken countries at least fed, watered, educated, housed, and given proper medical aid.
As well as the Vumba slaughter in 1978, here’s the Top Ten Massacres of Christian missionaries in Zimbabwe committed by the pro-Mugabe Patriotic Front:
1, Lupane Massacre, December 1976: terrorists kill former Catholic Bishop of Bulawayo along with a nun and priest.
2, Musami Massacre, February 1977: terrorists shoot dead three Jesuit missionaries, including Brother John Conway, aged 57, from Tralee, along with three Dominican nuns.
3, Second Lupane Massacre, March 1977: terrorists gun down two Catholic women missionaries.
4, St Rupert’s Mission Massacre, June 1978: terrorists kills two Jesuit missionaries.
5, Sanyati Mission Massacre, June 1978: terrorists attack the mission, murdering its Baptist evangelist, 58-year-old Archie Dunaway.
6, Usher Institute Massacre, June 1978: terrorists sprayed the Salvation Army mission with bullets, killing two women missionary teachers, including 25-year-old Miss Charon Faith Swindells from Bangor. Two other missionaries were badly wounded.
7, Embakwe Mission School Massacre, June 1978: Two Catholic Brothers were shot dead and another priest wounded. The 250-pupil school they ran had to close.
8, Gokwe Massacre, October 1977: a husband and wife missionary team from the Dutch Reformed Church were gunned down after a holy communion service. The family’s six children survived.
9, The Disappeared: terrorists abducted, murdered and mutilated the bodies of two Catholic missionaries – Father George Jeorger from the Order of Bethlehem at Fort Victoria in November 1976, and Jesuit priest Father Desmond Donavan in Salisbury in January 1978. Their bodies have never been found.
10, South Eastern Zimbabwe massacre, February 1977: Father Jose Diaz, who had worked in the country for 28 years, was ambushed, battered to death and mutilated at his mission.
Listen to religious commentator Dr John Coulter’s programme, Call In Coulter, every Saturday morning around 9.30 am on Belfast’s Christian radio station, Sunshine 1049 FM. Listen online at www.thisissunshine.com