Mike Auret was a devout Catholic and began in opposition when he joined the CCJP in Rhodesia and also when he stood, in opposition to the Rhodesia Front, unsuccessfully for a Bulawayo Parliament seat. He was conscripted by the Rhodesian army so fled the country with his family. He returned to Zimbabwe and continued with the CCJP. He became their chairperson. During Gukurahundi he and others catalogued the massacres in Matabeleland contained in the book “Breaking the Silence: Building True Peace.” He was a founding member of the NCA and was elected MDC MP for Harare Central in 2000. He retired to Ireland where he died 10 April 2020.

Personal Details

1937 – Born.
1957 - Married to Diana Auret.
Four children; Peter, Margaret, Stephen and Michael.
Died - 10 April 2020, aged 83, in Ireland.

School / Education

No information could be found on his Junior or High School, or any tertiary education.

Service / Career

1978 to 1999 - Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP). Later, Chairman of
16 March 1983 - Led delegation of catholic bishops to State House.
2000 to 2002 - MP, Harare Central. (Stepped down because of poor health).

Events

On 10 April 2020, Mike Auret died. He had been the chairperson of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, a member of parliament for the opposition, MDC where he represented Harare Central. he began in opposition in the seventies when he opposed the then ruling Rhodesian Front. He stood against the party in elections but lost. He was a devout Catholic, and intended to be a catholic priest, but met Diana, who he married in 1957. They had three sons and a daughter. They’re statement, “Dad was never just ours. We shared him with the Zimbabwe he so loved and fought all his life for, and ultimately with all those whose lives he touched and raised up through the power of his love.”

He joined the CCJP after trying to hold the Rhodesian police accountable for the torture his farm workers, where he farmed outside Bulawayo. While on a CCJP trip to Rome he was called up to the Rhodesian army. Knowing he could not fight for the Rhodesians he arranged for his family to leave the country as refugees and he led us from Rome, through Switzerland and finally to England.

He returned to Zimbabwe at Independence, and continued to work for development and human rights with the CCJP. He and others catalogued the massacres in Matabeleland contained in the book “Breaking the Silence: Building True Peace.” Led a CCJP delegation to meet with Robert Mugabe at State House.

He was part of the founding of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and served as its vice-chairperson in the first committee under Morgan Tsvangirai. The NCA went on to defeat Mugabe in the only democratic process the opposition was ever allowed to win, the constitutional referendum, pushing back Mugabe’s constitution in 2000. He also at that time stood in the 2000 elections and won his seat in Parliament for Harare Central. [1]

Mike Auret was a former Zimbabwe human rights activist and opposition politician who died on 10 April 2020 where he had relocated to. Mike Auret was the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP candidate for Harare Central a seat which he won before stepping down in 2002 because of poor health. Mike Auret who is a former a catholic priest was very vocal and played an active role to stop Mugabe's government from reportedly committing atrocities during the Gukurahundi Massacres in the 1980s. Auret who was the chairman of Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), led a delegation of catholic bishops on March 16, 1983 to State House in Harare to discuss the horror killings with the country's leader Robert Mugabe. Auret was instrumental in the documentation of the atrocities. Mike Auret was also a vocal human rights activist in Rhodesia speaking up against the racist white minority government led by Ian Smith. He later fled to England after he was called up to join the Rhodesian army during the liberation struggle. [2]

Mike Auret fought tooth and nail during the Rhodesian colonial era and after Zimbabwe’s independence for human rights; he was always on the frontline to defend the masses or marginalised in society. His most significant role on the human rights front was at the height of the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland, where, together with others, exposed the biggest and most vicious post-colonial killings of black people by a black government in the region led by the late President Robert Mugabe.

Auret was part of a Catholic delegation which met Mugabe, on 16 March 1983 at State House to discuss the killings which had taken place when the ethno-political crack military unit formed and trained in Nyanga by North Koreans, outside the formal structures of the ZNA, the Fifth Brigade, was deployed in Matabeleland North on 20 January 1983, starting in the Lupane areas, before spreading to Tsholotsho, Nkayo and other surrounding districts. He was accompanied to that meeting by bishops Ersnt Karlen, Patrick Mutume and Helmut Reckter. It was the second time they were meeting Mugabe after they had delivered a report to him on 5 November 1982. [3]

'Dad was never just ours. We shared him with the Zimbabwe he so loved and fought all his life for'
Former Movement for Democratic Change MP and human rights campaigner Mike Auret died in the Republic of Ireland on Good Friday, his family said. He was 83. His death sparked a stream of tributes, with many reflecting on his role as a human rights defender who as part of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace from 1978 to 1999 fought hard for the rights of ordinary Zimbabweans.

“We shared trenches in the struggle in the National Constitutional Assembly in 1999 before Mike was elected as MDC MP for Harare Central in 2000,” MDC leader Nelson Chamisa wrote on Twitter. He described Auret as a “consistent gallant fighter, an indefatigable defender of human rights, a great guy and our hero.”

Bulawayo lawyer and former MDC MP David Coltart, who worked with Auret in the Catholic Commission which documented the Matabeleland massacres in the early 1980s, said: “Mike’s work in promoting human rights in both Rhodesia and Zimbabwe was unparalleled. If ever there was a true Zimbabwean hero, it was Mike.”

Human rights lawyer Siphosami Malunga said Auret “relentlessly fought but failed to stop the genocide of 20,000 innocent civilians in Matabeleland”, adding: “He was my hero.” [4]

Further Reading

[5]

  1. Mike Auret has died, Zimbabwe Situation, Published: 10 April 2020, Retrieved: 11 April 2020
  2. Mike Auret (Zimbabwe), Wiki Biography, Retrieved: 11 April 2020
  3. Mike Auret: the man who stood up to the Gukurahundi barbarians, Name of Publication Here, Published: 10 April 2020, Retrieved: 11 April 2020
  4. Tributes paid to ‘true Zimbabwean hero’ Mike Auret who died in Ireland, ZimLive, Published: 11 April 2020, Retrieved: 11 April 2020
  5. Former MDC MP Mike Auret Dies, Pindula, Published: 10 April 2020, Retrieved: 11 April 2020