Address Gukurahundi issue now, CSOs tell govt 

Source: Address Gukurahundi issue now, CSOs tell govt – The Southern Eye

Ibhetshu Likazulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo

JOINING the rest of the world in commemorating the International Holocaust Day last week Friday, civic society organisations (CSOs) in Bulawayo called on government to speed up efforts to address Gukurahundi issue.

January 27 is designated by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly as International Holocaust Remembrance Day (IHRD).

Since 2005, the UN and its member States have held commemorative ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau during Adolf Hitler’s reign in Germany, and to honour the six million Jews murdered during the infamous Holocaust of World War II and millions of other victims of Nazism.

In Zimbabwe, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace claimed that more than 20 000 civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces were massacred by government forces in the early 1980s Gukurahundi era.

In collaboration with the international community, CSOs in Bulawayo led by Ibhetshu LikaZulu on Friday held the Gukurahundi memorial.

Ibhetshu Likazulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo called on government to address the Gukurahundu genocide and emulate other nations that have addressed their genocides.

“Even if the genocide that happened in Zimbabwe is still not recognised by the world, we still demand to hold the smaller solidarity activities with people of similar experiences, which would assist our campaigns to be recognised by the world,” Fuzwayo said.

 “The government has been saying people are free to speak about Gukurahundi, but the honest truth is that people still get arrested for commemorating the genocide like what happened on the 22nd of December 2022 when people were arrested for openly speaking about it,” he said.

The event was also attended by one of the traditional leaders from Matabeleland region, Chief Mathema.

In 1982, the Zimbabwean government led by the late former President Robert Mugabe unleashed the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade soldiers on Matabeleland and Midlands provinces purportedly to deal with Zapu dissidents. The soldiers, however, ended up killing thousands of unarmed civilians.

Former Zipra war veteran Maxwell Vuma Mkandla urged government to build more schools, colleges, universities and roads in Matabeleland province to be named in honour of former Zipra and Zapu cadres as compensation for the Gukurahundi massacres.

He said development of the affected regions would heal the nation.

“This sad chapter has reached a point that it should be closed and the only better option is for government to build schools, universities and colleges and name them after the likes of Lookout Masuku Nikitha Mangena and Joshua Nkomo, among many others. These will benefit the affected region and victims of the killings. Compensating individual victims would be difficult as it is possible that some people may come claiming to be victims of the dissidents.”

Mkandla suggested that the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway be named after Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo, and a college or university built in honour of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo.

Mkandla said consultations on the Gukurahundi issue by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission were enough, while the programme by chiefs must include Zipra and Zapu officials to identify properties that were grabbed by the government at the height of Gukurahundi.

Meanwhile, the Lalangwe Mbambangwe Memorial Trust, a non-governmental organisation spearheaded by an ex-Zipra cadre in honour of Joshua Nkomo — in conjunction with the African Childcare Trust, is currently engaged in helping vulnerable community members in Matobo district. The trust also wants the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo School of Tourism and Hospitality to be in Maphisa, Kezi.