Jeffrey Muvundusi 6 December 2017
BULAWAYO – Popular pressure group Ibhetshu Likazulu, which for years has
been fighting a somewhat losing battle to have the Gukurahundi atrocities
nationally recognised under former president Robert Mugabe’s regime, has
pinned hope on new President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Ibhetshu’s secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo told the Southern News recently
that while they are embracing a new political dispensation under
Mnangagwa, who is also perceived to have had an influential role during
the Gukurahundi era, they cannot rush to expect a bunch of roses from him.
“What I am not sure about is when Mnangagwa said let bygones be bygones
during his maiden speech, what did he mean?,” Fuzwayo said.
“I hope he was not referring to Gukurahundi because unfortunately, it’s
something that cannot be wished away. I am sure he was referring to their
internal factional fights,” he said.
“While we wish him to be different from Mugabe on the matter, for now we
can’t tell because we are not sure that it was Mugabe’s position or a Zanu
In expressing his hope to the leadership of Mnangagwa – who has since
pledged servant leadership to the people of Zimbabwe, Fuzwayo said:
“Mnangagwa said he is now a Christian and what that means to us is that he
has repented. So in that regard, if he is a true Christian he should give
room to national healing and reconciliation.”
The Ibhetshu activist said it was not for the new president to address the
past by himself but he should set up an independent commission that will
be mandated to look into the issue.
The former president refused to apologise for the atrocities, preferring
to say “it was a moment of madness”.
“The issue of Gukurahundi is not about individuals, therefore we don’t
expect Mnangagwa to be the one doing it, but his office must facilitate
for a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to be
functional. While politicians are stakeholders, they should not be key
stakeholders of this peace and reconciliation process, we need churches,
civic society, traditional leaders and former freedom fighters to be
involved in this whole process,” Fuzwayo explained.
Under Mugabe, Ibhetshu clashed with the law enforcers on several occasions
as they sought to conduct commemorations of the victims of Gukurahundi.
The latest was last month when hundreds of activists, led by Zapu
president Dumiso Dabengwa, were blocked by heavily-armed police from
visiting Bhalagwe in Kezi where thousands were said to have been thrown in
a disused mine.