ZIMBABWE yesterday marked 40 years since Gukurahundi broke out and civic groups, traditional leaders and political parties in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces have expressed concern that nothing has been done to bring closure to the emotive issue.
The mass killings started on January 3, 1983 and ended with the signing of the Unity Accord between the late former President Robert Mugabe and his deputy Joshua Nkomo (also late) on December 22, 1987.
Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo accused government of lacking the political will to ensure families affected by the mass killings have peace of mind.
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace estimates that at least 20 000 Ndebele-speaking people were killed by State security agents on allegations of harbouring suspected Zipra dissidents.
“After the coup in 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised that he was going to resolve the matter. But what is it that has been done? Resolving the matter must be victim-centred,” Fuzwayo said.“If government was sincere, it should have consulted the victims on what exactly they want to be done. The nation should be made aware that something wrong was committed Mnangagwa has just been meeting the traditional leadership. Without giving them a budget and timeframe, this was just as good as nothing.”
Chief Nyangazonke of Kezi, Matabeleland South province, said: “The signing of the Unity Accord gave hope to people, but when he ( Nkomo) passed on, things started to take a nosedive. The Unity Accord was to bring development to the areas affected, but nothing much has materialised inasmuch as people are crying about personal documents.”
Zapu spokesperson Mso Ndlovu said: “Gukurahundi has escalated and morphed into different forms.’
“You cannot address Gukurahundi by arresting and victimising those commemorating the genocide. The Unity Accord was a complete farce. It was signed for two different reasons. The reasons were for Zapu to save lives and for Zanu to create a one-party state. No provisions were made to ensure healing and closure.”National Peace and Reconciliation Commission spokesperson Obert Gutu said the matter was being handled by the Office of the President and Cabinet.
“We are happy that the first citizen ( Mnangagwa) is leading the process. As NPRC, we always support initiatives that are meant to build peace. We are the prime constitutional peace-building mechanism,” Gutu said.
Mnangangwa unveiled a roadmap in tackling Gukurahundi late last year, with traditional leaders being tasked to lead the healing process.