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Fallout over Bhalagwe meeting continues

by Staff reporter
25 Oct 2017 at 12:35hrs | Views
RADICAL pressure group - Ibhetshu Likazulu still smarting from its failure to commemorate Gukurahundi victims - has written a letter of complaint to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission deploring police action at last weekend's event in Matabeleland South province.

Heavily-armed police prevented the group, civic society organisations and high-ranking politicians from holding commemorative meetings in Kezi on Saturday.

Among those who turned for the event to remember Gukurahundi victims at Bhalagwe were former Cabinet ministers Dumiso Dabengwa and Moses Mzila Ndlovu.

"It is quickly emerging beyond reasonable doubt that some aspects of government are in pursuit of self-aggrandisement than Constitutional enshrinement.

"People, even animal rights, are an inviolable matter. Previously we have had to go to court to have our right to associate enforced. Courts are not to be inundated by induced trivia from supposedly knowledgeable State officers.

"I wish to lodge an official complaint that on October 21, we were denied access to Bhalagwe to pray and appease our departed and heal ourselves. We were a population of soul-tortured people with relatives who disappeared without closure," said Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary-general, Mbuso Fuzwayo.

The visit to Bhalagwe was meant to honour victims of Gukurahundi in Matabeleland and Midlands regions under the programme themed Dispossessed in Life and Dishonoured in Death: Bhalagwe Victims Remembered.

Ibhesthu have had several run-ins with the authorities over their stance on Gukurahundi.

Meanwhile, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) said it was deeply concerned with the disruption of the Bhalagwe prayer meeting by the police.

In a statement, CiZC chairperson, Dumisani Nkomo said the police have been notorious for cancelling similar events since 2011 and their actions served to confirm that they are a captured institution.

"As CiZC we contend that the practice of memorialisation is one of the many avenues that seek to bring closure to victims and survivors of gross human rights abuses and survivors of genocide. The practice of memorialisation is a global concept, with countries such as Rwanda annually holding memorials for victims of genocide while in Germany Holocaust denialism is a criminal offence.

"In our view the foiled prayer meeting was not only legal but is in line with national principles of good governance enshrined in the Constitution that seek to foster national unity, peace and stability.  In the same vein we view actions of those that seek to deny justice for victims and survivors of the Gukurahundi genocide as criminal and infringing on individual and group rights to assemble and express themselves," said Nkomo.

"The actions of the police can only be interpreted as expressing their support for the State-sponsored inhumane killings of the 1980s.

"The recent actions of the police under instruction from the State which continues to pay lip-service to the Gukurahundi massacres are deplorable and a grave concern for the justice order in Zimbabwe. We note that 30 years later, the Executive has not acknowledged these inhumane killings neither has it made a public apology to the affected families.

"We are worried that the State and its agents have been consistent in intimidating already fragile and traumatised populations in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions by promising to unleash similar violence during electoral periods.

"We are equally concerned that numerous public programmes meant to bring closure to the massacres continue to be foiled by the State, cases being the foiled Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration and currently the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, which has spent half of its 10-year tenure before being operationalised," added Nkomo.

Source - dailynews