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Chiefs resist renaming of Gukurahundi

by Staff reporter
29 Oct 2022 at 08:26hrs | Views
A GOVERNMENT official allegedly tried, though without success, to convince Chiefs into dropping the nomenclature 'Gukurahundi' in reference to the genocide of the 1980s, and replacing it with a 'less problematic one' during a Bulawayo State House meeting, Chief Khulumani Mathema of Gwanda has revealed.

Chief Mathema was addressing delegates at the launch of Centre for Innovation and Technology's (CITE) We Will Crush Them, a documentary on the massacres that claimed some 20 000 mainly Ndebele-speaking people in the southern part of Zimbabwe.

The suggestion was made at the handover of a chiefs' manual on handling the emotive matter, which government has been grappling with over decades.

According to the outspoken traditional leader, a  name which he was not at liberty to reveal, was even suggested to replace Gukurahundi.

"There was a situation we had in the meeting, we were told to change the name Gukurahundi," revealed Chief Mathema.

"It was supposed to be given another name. As Matabeleland chiefs we rejected it.

"Someone provided another name; this divided the house and the rest of us Chiefs rejected that. It is still Gukurahundi."

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who received the manual from President of the Chiefs' Council, Fortune Charumbira has been trying to finalise the matter, which has been a thorn in his flesh since taking over from protagonist and his predecessor, Robert Mugabe.

Using Mnangagwa, then Minister of State Security, his deputy Constantino Chiwenga then a commander at Bulawayo's 1 Brigade and late national hero Perrance Shiri, known as Black Jesus in Matebeleland and Midlands provinces, Mugabe unleashed a reign of terror on the region under the guise of seeking ZAPU dissidents.
CITE's We Will Crush Them chronicles experiences of survivors, including public executions of their relatives by Mugabe's North Korean trained militia, the Fifth Brigade monikered Gukurahundi.

Although Mnangagwa's new dispensation has considerably opened up space for discussion on the matter, State security agents sometimes harass those doing so while some pressure groups and academics have accused him of being insincere in his approach.

"The government will need to include professionals and not just chiefs. To be fair to Mnangagwa, given that he knows he is implicated himself he has gone a bit further than Mugabe.

"We have gotten this far but I'm not saying we are excited or grateful, Gukurahundi should have been solved a long time ago," said Siphosami Malunga, human rights activist and son to liberation war hero, Sydney Malunga.

"There is a huge difference between intention and outcome. Of course, we are skeptical that the government, which initiated this process is behind it all, I am cautiously observant but a lot of things have to change.

"People of Matabeleland have to insist on their voice being heard and the story being told. It is important for these victims to be seen."

Source - NewZimbabwe