The late former Vice President Joshua Nkomo wrote about why he fled from Zimbabwe when the Fifth Brigade, a Zimbabwe National Army crack unit trained by North Koreans, was wreaking havoc in the Southern parts of the country during the Gukurahundi genocide in the 1980s.
The late “Father Zimbabwe” was forced into exile on 7 March 1983. Here is a page from his book, “Story of My Life” where he outlines the events that forced him into exile;
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Just before dawn on 8 March 1983, I crossed the dry river-bed into Botswana, driven into exile from Zimbabwe by the armed killers of Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.
Over the decades of our struggle for the freedom, I had grown used to the hostility, even the hatred, of governments representing the tiny white minority of my fellow-citizens.
But nothing in my life had prepared me for persecution at the hands of a government led by black Africans. This book will, I trust, make clear what had gone wrong and why. But first I must explain how I got away and lived to tell the tale.
Over a year had passed since I was dismissed, on trumped-up charges, from the government of Zimbabwe. All that time Robert Mugabe and his party colleagues had sought, without success, to link me and my party, Zapu, to the armed bandits operating in the western province of Matabeleland.
Instead of trying to prevent the unrest that was inevitable after fifteen years of armed struggle, the government seemed intent on creating rebellion and suggesting that I was at the head of it.
In the rural areas thousands of people – many of them my supporters, many innocent even of that offence against the ruling party – had been massacred by the Fifth Brigade, the force specially trained by North Korean advisers to operate independently of the official army and police.
Whole villages had been burnt to the ground, cattle slaughtered, women raped. Soldiers who had fought gallantly under my command for our country’s freedom were arrested and tortured.
Some were tried, acquitted by the courts – and then redetained without trial under the arbitrary laws inherited from the colonial period.
My family and my friends were threatened, my passport was impounded, my speeches calling for unity and justice were methodically suppressed as the press and broadcast media were brought under total state control.
But still, the ruling party could not provoke me to disloyalty towards the nation I had struggled to liberate.