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Mphoko in fresh Gukurahundi storm

by Staff reporter
06 Jul 2017 at 07:01hrs | Views
MATABELELAND-BASED opposition parties and civic society groups have rapped Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko for erecting tombstones at Gukurahundi victims' graves without the involvement of affected families.

The civic groups accused Mphoko, who is responsible for the National Reconciliation ministry, of failing to foster reconciliation between the perpetrators and victims' families.

National People's Party (NPP) spokesperson, Methuseli Moyo yesterday accused Mphoko of failing to address the psychological effects of the Gukurahundi massacres.

"You can't start from registering children of the victims of Gukurahundi without even acknowledging and registering the victims themselves," Moyo said.

"This is a typical case of the ostrich mentality. We implore the Zanu-PF government to deal with Gukurahundi in a comprehensive and sincere manner.

"The first step should be apologising for Gukurahundi, then register the dead and those affected, and then come to the survivors.

"The people want the truth, apology and then their input on the way forward. Issuing death certificates to the dead and birth certificates to their children will never solve this issue. It is much deeper than that. The type pretence and insincerity stinks all the way to heaven."

Ibhetshu likaZulu secretary-general, Mbuso Fuzwayo said the process must start with consultations on what the survivors prescribe must be done on reburials.

"There has to be forensic tests to establish cause of death, identity of person because a lot of them are in mass graves," he said.

"On IDs, it's a positive move, but l think survivors still need death certificates for their late relatives, cause of death and those who disappeared. It's criminal to rebury a person without forensic tests.

"This is a deliberate strategy to destroy evidence, taking advantage on people's ignorance."

Mphoko last Monday officiated at a programme to facilitate issuance of identity documents to families of Gukurahundi victims.

The programme, launched at Tshino Primary School in Tsholotsho, is set to benefit children who lost their parents due to past political disturbances.

A similar activity is expected to be launched in Kezi, Matabeleland South province, tomorrow.

Mphoko said the programme will also include identifying mass graves and erecting tombstones with a full list of the people who were buried at each point.

The Vice-President once courted controversy after he described Gukurahundi as a western conspiracy theory to soil President Robert Mugabe's image.

Post-Independence Survivors Trust director, Felix Magalela Sibanda dismissed Mphoko's programme as a "political gimmick trying to appease the traumatised nationals".

MDC spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi said the Zanu-PF regime is now between a rock and a hard place.

Zapu deputy spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said the government was insincere on the Gukurahundi issue.

He said, as perpetrators, Zanu-PF should open debate on the contentious issue and give audience to victims before anything could be done.

"A proper forensic identification process must precede any reburials and this should be done with the consent and participation of victims," Maphosa said.

"The only logical thing Mphoko spoke about is documentation of victims and children of the victims as this is long overdue.

"That also needs to be done in the most transparent manner with the documents showing the cause of their parents' death as Gukurahundi genocide."

Mthwakazi Republic Party president, Mqondisi Moyo also said this was a political gimmick meant to hoodwink the people of Matabeleland into believing that the Zanu-PF government is willing to deal with Gukurahundi.

"In reality, it's just rhetoric associated with their usually command lies towards elections," he said.

"Giving people IDs and birth certificates is a normal procedure done in this country towards every election, it is done across Zimbabwe and it has nothing to do with Gukurahundi.

"When the government of Zimbabwe will be ready to deal with the atrocities, we will see them talking to us, allowing peace, truth and reconciliation. Let people be free to talk about it, free to mourn and commemorate."

People's Democratic Party Bulawayo spokesperson, Edwin Ndlovu said the government was using the Gukurahundi issue as a campaign tool.

"It is known that government killed innocent people of Matabeleland during that time," he said.

"Therefore, the perpetrators cannot be the messiah overnight."

Source - newsday

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