THE marginalisation of the Matabeleland region is viewed as a deliberate extension of the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres by the Zanu PF government, to punish the people in the southern parts of the country, according to rights activists.
Prominent human rights activist Effie Ncube this week laid into government during a webinar over the lack of development in Matabeleland compared to other provinces.
“That kind of engagement is recognised internationally as a way of representing citizens’ power. When doing that, let’s be aware that we will be petitioning the perpetrator of Gukurahundi and to them not upgrading the Nkayi-Bulawayo Road is another way of punishing the people of Matabeleland. It’s not a mistake; it’s not that there is no budget. The money is there,” he said.
“This should be understood as part of war against the people of Matabeleland. It must be understood as a recurring effect of Gukurahundi. I know people from Nkayi come here via Kwekwe, Gweru and Lupane. You can’t imagine a society that lives like that. But it’s not surprising if you understand that this is an extension of Gukurahundi to further punish, subjugate, undermine and destroy Matabeleland.”
Ncube said the continued lack of new developmental projects in Matabeleland was appalling.
“They want it like that so that an ambulance from Nkayi to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) or Mpilo Central Hospitals gets there when you are dead. There are many people who have died on their way to a referral hospital in Bulawayo. There are many women who died or gave birth on their way because of the poor road,” Ncube said.
He said there must be complete structural reforms to ensure developmental projects are implemented equally in all the country’s provinces.
“If you are a survivor of genocide, ask people from Rwanda and Israel, those guarantees were given but did not work. So unless you push for the reforms, the constitutional, political, legal and structural reforms of the State as part of measures to guarantee non repetition of the genocide, it will happen again. There must be reform of the way the state operates,” he said.
Ncube’s remarks come at a time when leader of the United Movement for Devolution Lovemore Moyo complained about marginalisation of the Matabeleland region.
“Look at the Tsholotsho–Bulawayo road, Bulawayo-Maphisa road; all these are pointers that the region is marginalised when you compare to the Wedza–Nyanzura road, Gutu Mpandawana–Zaka road and Murambida-Gutu Mpandawana road. If you look at these road networks, from each district from Harare to these districts all of them enjoy tarred roads,” Moyo said.
“Then there are roads that feed districts, they are tarred. But look at the roads that are feeding Nkayi, Lupane! How are they? Look at how the Gwanda-Matopo road is. That road was allocated money during my first term of being an MP to be tarred and in records it’s known to be tarred but they decided to divert the budget.”
He said there was no proper road network between Plumtree and Tsholotsho and from Tsholotsho to Lupane.
“To me that is a pointer of marginalisation,” Moyo said.
He said the allocation of resources was unfair.
“Of course, if you look at the allocation of resources, the issue of farms, conservancies; if you look at the conservancies in Hwange, I think there is one or two people from Matabeleland who got them. The bigger number of beneficiaries of farms are army generals and others from Harare,” Moyo said.
“So it’s clear that in that lucrative area of conservancy, Matabeleland was excluded. There are a lot of such issues, look at even deployment to foreign missions which is very critical, of ambassadors and diplomats. The deployment considered people from other regions and not from Matabeleland region out of close to 70 of them or more, and it shows that it is a marginalisation on the international front. Our people are not there in international politics.”