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ZAPU/ZIPRA opens fresh probe into Kezi human bones saga

by Bakidzanani Dube
25 Jun 2017 at 06:30hrs | Views
Gukurahundi grounds in Kezi - Human bones left in the open
Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) and Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) war veterans association have opened a fresh probe into Kezi human bones saga.

This comes after the continual discovery of exposed human bones on the banks of Bhode River near Kezi Shopping Centre in Ndiweni Village under Chief Nyangazonke Ndiweni in Matebeleland South's Matopo North District where there is an abandoned cemetery.

As a preliminary step to the investigations, the two organisations dispatched an exclusively high valued delegation led by Percy Bhebhe the ZAPU National Chairperson for the Council of Elders and ZIPRA Organising Secretary for Matebeleland Patrick Dube to tour the deserted cemetery and to speak to the elders of the village about the continued discovery of exposed human bones lying idle on the banks of the stream.

ZAPU/ZIPRA delegation - Touring the Gukurahundi grounds in Kezi (24 June 2017)

Speaking during the tour of the now disused cemetery on Saturday, the spokesperson of the delegation Nicholas Macala Dube who is also the ZAPU Provincial Secretary for Legal Affairs in Matebeleland South said they were failing to understand how human bones could constantly be exposed if they were securely buried.

"This whole thing has become worrisome to us because it defies logic how human bones can be exposed if the person was properly buried," said Dube.

Making reference to one shallow grave where human bones were exhumed for fresh burial in May 2017, Dube said the depth of the grave was leading them to suspect that those people were hurriedly buried.

"We are now suspicious that these people may be part of our members who are Gukurahundi victims who were hurriedly buried by timid villagers under the command of the infamous Fifth Brigade. People who have enough time to bury their loved ones cannot dig such shallow graves for them," Dube said.

The stream where the disused cemetery lies about 6km from Bhalagwe Hill, a former Fifth Brigade base where thousands are said to have been butchered by the task-force during Gukurahundi and thrown into a disused mine there.

Touring the Gukurahundi grounds in Kezi (24 June 2017)

It also lies less than three hundred meters from Kezi Clinic which is said to have been once rehabilitation centre for patients suffering from tuberculosis.
About a kilometre west of the place is the clinical cemetery which was a burial centre for deceased patients whose relatives could not be located or there were complications in their transportation to be buried in their homes.

Moving on, Dube said it is just more than the depth of the graves that worries them as a party.

"We are not only worried about the depth of the graves but we are also concerned about the difference in the age of graves and the juxtaposition of the cemetery to Bhalagwe where our members were butchered and hidden. These newer and collapsing graves indicate that those bastards may for some time taken chances to bury their victims here before they went to throw them into the disused mine at Bhalagwe Hill," Dube added.

Dube said they were suspicious that there were a lot of mysteries behind that abandoned graveyard and scientific research could assist them.

"We are therefore calling for a forensic study to be conducted on these bones to ascertain their age. We will only relax if the results indicate that the bones are more than 50 years old but if they are 35 years and below then we will expect the law to take its toll," concluded Dube.

Speaking during the exclusive tour by the ZAPU/ZIPRA delegation, the kraal head of the village Pharaoh Moyo said they were also traumatised by the continued discovery of exposed human bones, indicating that apart from the bones discovered by a villager Mrs Antonetta Nyathi in May this year, they discovered more scattered bones from the disused cemetery last week.

"Of course this was always a graveyard when we grew up in the 1960s but what worries us most is the discovery of bones that seem to be from very recent burials near the site," Moyo said. Moyo also stated that the depth of the graves was even causing them to more trauma and they are beginning to suspect that they are likely to see more.

"From my knowledge, a grave should be six feet deep or the height of the tallest person but these ones are too shallow and we now fear for the worst that more will collapse because others are beginning to collapse already", said Moyo.

Moyo said that as villagers, they wish to be granted a green light to exhume all the bones that lie on the stream bank and re-burry them way before they can become self-exposed.

According to historical accounts from villagers, the cemetery in question seem to be containing people who had come to Zimbabwe as immigrants but had died while here and had to be buried there between the 40s and the 60s. However some of the graves at the site seem to be those of the 80s, a period coinciding with the Gukurahundi genocide where approximately 20 000 people from Matebeleland were massacred by the Fifth Brigade.

Source - Bakidzanani Dube