Greener Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3 (5), pp. 256-267, May 2013
ISSN: 2276-7800 © 2011 Greener Journals
Senseless Violence? A Historiographical Review of the Human Rights Discourse in Shurugwi District of Zimbabwe,1890-2000
Lecturer,History and Development Studies Department at the Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo, Zimbabwe.
Email: marongwechief @ gmail. com
In the human rights narrative, the Third Chimurenga violence in Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2008 is categorised as senseless and self-preserving violence used by ZANU-PF to retain power through cowing the electorate and intimidating the opposition MDC. This article revisits the violence of the era through problematizing this Human Rights articulation. Using the historical genealogy of land expropriations and shortages among the blacks, I attempt to answer the question: To what degree was the violence that accompanied the Third Chimurenga senseless? I argue that while there could have been cases of extreme violations of human rights of certain citizens on the whole in Shurugwi district, it had the overall result of correcting historical wrongs. The article begins by problematizing the human rights discourse as it can be applied to the farm takeovers in Shurugwi district. In the second part, I discuss the genealogy of land shortages as well as coercive policies such as centralisation that was piloted in Shurugwi and the introduction of the plough in entrenching structural violence in the district. This enables us to view the build-up to the 2000 onwards land invasions and accompanying violence.
Keywords: Senseless violence, Human rights, Centralisation, Chimurenga, Shurugwi, Structural violence.