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'Stop Gukurahundi hearings'

by Staff reporter
04 Apr 2024 at 13:44hrs | Views
STAKEHOLDERS and interest groups in Matabeleland have called on the government to stop the Gukurahundi hearings accusing President Emmerson Mnangagwa of running the project like a personal show.

Zimbabwe is set to hold public hearings into the killing of tens of thousands of people in the 1980s, known as the Gukurahundi, with the government's Fifth Brigade soldiers accused of torture, rape and execution.

Stakeholders, who spoke to Southern Eye this week, accused government of lacking seriousness over the issue while claiming that officials failed to consult them adequately.

The Zimbabwe Chiefs Council is leading the process with its president Chief Mtshane Khumalo indicating yesterday that they are expecting to be informed about the launch of the hearings this week.

"It was supposed to be launched last month [but] President Mnangagwa got tied up. We are expecting to hear about the launch this week and immediately after the launch, we will get started," Chief Khumalo said.

However, Chief Mathema of Matabeleland South province described the project as anti-people, adding that it was not in tandem with international best practices.

"Let's acknowledge what kind of a thing this is. This is genocide and let's not run away from international best practices. There are so many people who can bring facts on the table about this project.

"We have never heard a voice from the victims, but just the voice of the perpetrator. It should be balanced, by now we should be scrutinising the budget for the project but we do not have it," he said.

Chief Mathema accused the government of playing cheap politics to the extent of excluding the Midlands province, one of the affected regions.

"It is cheap politics showing that the other side is alive and the other side is rotten," he said.

Zapu president Sibangilizwe Nkomo said the delay in launching the project showed that the government was cognisant of the concerns raised in a letter he wrote to Mnangagwa.

"We wrote a five-page letter to him early this year telling him that what he is doing is not procedural, we copied the letter to [Southern African Development Community] Sadc.

"There is supposed to be a tribunal to handle the issue because some traditional leaders are conflicted. It was targeted at the Ndebele people, Zapu members and its leadership and, definitely, this is genocide (and) the government is the perpetrator,'' Nkomo said.

He said the people behind the killings must come out before the hearings so that they can be cleansed, adding that they were being haunted by the spirits of the dead.

Nkomo said Zapu had engaged victims to hear their concerns.

Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo said some communities were not aware of the programme.

"This is a national issue that is being run by certain individuals. It must be kept in mind that there are other victims in Bulawayo and outside the country," he said.

Source - southern eye