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Missionalia

On-line version ISSN 2312-878X
Print version ISSN 0256-9507

Abstract

GUNDANI, Paul H. The 'just war' tradition in Zimbabwean historiography. Dis(entangling) the Gordian knot between religion and morality of war. Missionalia (Online) [online]. 2019, vol.47, n.1, pp.72-92. ISSN 2312-878X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.7832/47-1-301.

Three wars stand out in Zimbabwean historiography with regard to the use and application of the 'just war' tradition. The first was occasioned by the murder of Father Goncalo da Silveira, a Portuguese Jesuit missionary, in 1560. After seeking the advice of the Ecclesiastical Council, the Portuguese king decided to send an expedition under the leadership of Francisco Barreto to wage war against the Mutapa Empire. Deliberations by the Council had concluded that the military expedition would constitute a 'just war'. The second war broke out in 1893, at the instigation of the British South Africa Company. This war, often referred to as the 'Matabele war' was a war of conquest against the Ndebele kingdom. Again, the 'just war' theory was applied. Thirdly, political and Church leaders in support of the Chimurenga / Umfazo II (1966-1979) also used the concept in their writings. This article argues that the three wars fell short of the moral bar to which the 'just war' tradition aspires. Instead, the three wars were geared to, and indeed succeeded in, serving parochial and sectarian interests of those behind the war at the expense of the lofty ideals espoused by the 'just war' tradition. The study will rely on available secondary sources that form part of Zimbabwean historiography2.

Keywords : Zimbabwe; Monomutapa [Mutapa Empire]; just war' theory [tradition]; colonialism; decolonisation; justice; racial reconciliation.

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