ED, govt conflicted on Gukurahundi: Rights groups

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

HUMAN rights activists have objected to plans by Matabeleland chiefs to submit their Gukurahundi consultation findings report to President Emmerson Mnangagwa saying he was conflicted as he was among the alleged perpetrators.

The 1980s Gukurahundi atrocities saw more than 20 000 unarmed civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces brutally killed by government forces. Government has not publicly apologised for the massacres and the victims have not been compensated.

Early this year, Mnangagwa ordered Matabeleland chiefs to consult their subjects on the emotive issue and compile a report.

Last week deputy president of the National Chiefs’ Council, Chief Mtshane Khumalo revealed that traditional leaders will begin the consultations next year and present their findings to Mnangagwa.

But Matabeleland-based human rights groups feel that Mnangagwa does not need the report as there is no new information on the issue.

In a virtual meeting over the weekend, Nkayi Community Parliament Speaker Nhlanhla Moses Ncube said: "In fact, Mnangagwa knows more than anyone from the planning, implementation and conclusion of the genocide. What he is doing is goose play. He wants the gullible to be blurred from thinking about the Gukurahundi issue which was perpetrated by himself (Mnangagwa), the late former President Robert Mugabe, and former State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi.”

Ncube said both the Chihambakwe Commission (led by Justice Simplisius Chihambabwe) and Dumbutshena Commission (led by the late Justice Enock Dumbutshena) reports on the Gukurahundi issue were under wraps more than three decades after they were released.

“Chiefs do not have the capacity to resolve the genocide. Mnangagwa must follow proven methodologies for solving genocides worldwide. He cannot resolve a genocide that he perpetrated.”

South Africa-based Zimbabwean Pan-Africanist Chandagwinyira Chose said: "The process by chiefs is just a vote-buying strategy by Zanu PF. The report to be produced by chiefs might not be taken seriously. Mnangagwa now hopes that all blame will be shifted on the late Mugabe.”

Human rights activist Effie Ncube said the chiefs could not hand the report to Mnangagwa because he was the chief suspect in the matter.

"Judging by what happened with regards to Chihambakwe and Dumbutshena commission reports, the report by chiefs will also not be made public. We can't accept a repeat of the same thing again."

Former Ntabazinduna chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni said the Gukurahundi issue could only be effectively resolved through a judicial process.

“Without such a process, the Gukurahundi report by chiefs will also just disappear like the Dumbutshena and Chihambakwe reports," Ndiweni said.


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