By NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO activist Mbuso Fuzwayo, who is coordinator of Ibhetshu LikaZulu that is pushing for redress of the Gukurahundi massacres, has been dragged to court over a 2019 incident of alleged public violence.
Fuzwayo immediately dismissed the summons as harassment after he led a delegation of Matabeleland chiefs on Africa Day to Maphisa in Matabeleland South for a Gukurahundi memorial service in Bhalagwe where there are mass graves.
A Gukurahundi memorial plaque was also erected at Bhalagwe, but was later destroyed and stolen by unknown people. Ibhetshu LikaZulu blames the theft on the state.
On the day that Ibhetshu LikaZulu was holding the Gukurahundi memorial service, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also named as an architect of the atrocities, was unveiling a statue of Mbuya Nehanda in Harare.
Mbuya Nehanda was a spirit medium.
In the latest incident, Fuzwayo faces charges of public violence following the chaos that unfolded at the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) chambers in July 2019 when some MDC Alliance councillors attempted to remove town clerk Christopher Dube.
Former deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami, councillors Arnold Batirai, Tawanda Ruzive, Felix Mhaka and Silas Chigora led from the front in attempting to suspend and remove Dube from office on charges of abuse of office.
Mayor Solomon Mguni, who was not in Bulawayo at the time, later reversed the suspension.
After the incident, some Bulawayo youths besieged BCC chambers on July 12 to ostensibly block or remove the councillors who had attempted to suspend the city’s town clerk from accessing council offices as tempers flared up over the aborted suspension.
And according to summons issued against Fuzwayo dated May 19, 2021, the Ibhetshu LikaZulu leader has a case to answer over the public violence charges that occurred on the day.
“It is clear even to a blind person that the whole issue is related to the Gukurahundi memorials and plaques that we erected recently,” Fuzwayo told Sunday Southern Eye.
“Incidentally, this summon came days after we had held a memorial for Gukurahundi victims in Tsholotsho. It’s a case of wanting to harass Ibhetshu LikaZulu.”
Three days earlier, Ibhetshu LikaZulu had held a Gukurahundi memorial service in the Emkhonyeni area where 21 women and a man were burnt to death on March 13, 1983 by the Fifth Brigade.
Fuzwayo said Ibhetshu LikaZulu would not be deterred by the “side-show” court case and was mobilising resources to hold Gukurahundi memorials where there are shallow graves.
“We are still mobilising resources to replace the plaque they destroyed in Bhalagwe,” he said.
“We are definitely not going back.
“The [government] has said people should openly speak about Gukurahundi, and to us, this is our way of opening conversation on Gukurahundi.”
In 2019, Mnangagwa called for open debates on the 1980s mass killings in Matabeleland and Midlands before endorsing chiefs to lead the exhumation and reburials of victims of Gukurahundi.
However, there has been little movement since then.