BY SILAS NKALA
RELATIVES of Gukurahundi victims and survivors in Lupane, Matabeleland North province, have demanded that President Emmerson Mnangagwa should go to them to explain why people in the region were tortured, raped and killed.
Mnangagwa was State Security minister in the 1980s when the late former President Robert Mugabe deployed North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland and Midlands regions in an operation that resulted in over 20 000 fatalities.
The emotional villagers made the demands during a meeting by Rural Community Empowerment Trust (Rucet) and the Centre for Innovation Technology in Dakiwe village, Matshiya ward 15 in Lupane, Matabeleland North, on Friday.
National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) commissioner Lesley Ncube and an NPRC official Mercy Nkala attended the meeting.
Since he took over in a November 2017 coup, Mnangagwa has twice met civic organisations under the banner, Matabeleland Collective, to try to resolve the Gukurahundi issue, but no meaningful strides have been made.
Marko Ndlovu, one of the villagers, said Mnangagwa should be careful on how he tried to handle the Gukurahundi issue because he was the head of a key ministry complicit in the killings.
“The anger which is exploding here, maybe, can be appeased if Mnangagwa comes to the people here and apologise over what government did,” he said.
Another villager, Collen Mkandla, said if government was failing to feed people, how was it expected to resolve the Gukurahundi issue?
Speakers called on Mnangagwa to come to them to answer questions on why their relatives were brutalised and killed.
Ncube said the NPRC team would take the villagers’ issues to the commission’s chairperson Justice Selo Nare for onward transmission to Mnangagwa.
“The commission is committed to go around hearing people’s concerns and experiences so as to ensure peace, reconciliation, reparations and compensation of victims,” Ncube said.
Rucet co-ordinator Vumani Ndlovu hailed the villagers for attending the meeting to express their feelings and expectations on the issue of Gukurahundi.
He challenged the villagers to open up to enable the emotive issue to be addressed, adding that there would be no development in the community if there was no peace and reconciliation.
“All along, this issue was not spoken about even in our houses, but now we are allowed to talk about it, that is why the NPRC was constituted,”Ndlovu said.