ZRP Says It’s Found King Lobengula’s Remains In Zambia Instead Of Itai Dzamara
3 April 2024
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By Farai D Hove | Analysis | In a twist that veers into the realm of the absurd, Charity Charamba, the once-respected spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), has purportedly unearthed the remains of the 19th-century Ndebele monarch, King Lobengula, in Zambia. This announcement comes against the stark backdrop of the ZRP’s ongoing inability to solve the more contemporary and pressing case of Itai Dzamara, the activist who vanished without a trace nearly a decade ago. The apparent breakthrough in historical sleuthing starkly contrasts with the authorities’ longstanding failure to address modern human rights concerns, drawing skepticism and raising eyebrows far and wide.

The revelation that King Lobengula’s final resting place has been “discovered” in a cave in Zambia, under the auspices of a fact-finding mission led by esteemed historian Mr. Pathisa Nyathi and funded by President Mnangagwa, has struck many as a curious prioritization of resources. Critics argue that the resources might have been better spent addressing the myriad of current issues plaguing the nation, not least the unresolved disappearance of Dzamara.

“Beyond Pupu, what happened to the King? that is the question that we need to answer,” said Mr. Nyathi, seemingly oblivious to the irony of his quest. In the shadow of the ZRP’s glaring incapacity to locate one of their own citizens, the dedication to unearthing a monarch who vanished over a century ago has been met with derision. The mission’s alleged success in pinpointing King Lobengula’s remains in line with Ndebele customs has provoked not awe, but incredulity, as voices within and beyond Zimbabwe question the juxtaposition of historical adventure against a grim record of unresolved contemporary disappearances.

The notion that King Lobengula, who supposedly “never disappeared” but rather took up a new life in Chipata, has been easier to find than a man who vanished in 2015, is being ridiculed as an embarrassing commentary on the state’s priorities and capabilities. The endeavor, described by Nyathi as a journey to correct the one-sided narrative of the Battle of Pupu, is seen by many as an absurd misallocation of effort when present injustices demand attention.

Furthermore, the enthusiasm shown by Mr. Nyathi and the delegates, including King Lobengula’s descendants, contrasts sharply with the despondency and frustration felt by those still seeking answers for the numerous missing persons in Zimbabwe today. The promise to publish a book about their “historic” findings seems, to many, a macabre joke when there are so many current stories of loss and disappearance that remain untold and unaddressed.

As Zimbabwe grapples with its complex history and the ghosts of its colonial past, the juxtaposition of celebrating the “discovery” of a long-dead king while failing to account for the lives of contemporary citizens casts a long shadow over the intentions and competencies of its authorities. The affair has not only drawn ridicule but has also served as a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggle for justice and accountability in the face of seemingly misplaced priorities.