BY SHARON BUWERIMWE
HUMAN rights pressure group Ibhetshu LikaZulu has claimed that Gukurahundi survivors voted for the ruling Zanu PF party in the past elections out of fear of a repeat of the genocide.
The pressure group said each election since the early 1980s had brought sad memories of the massacre to the survivors and their families.
An estimated 20 000 civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces were killed by State security agents between 1982 and 1987 on suspicion of harbouring PF-Zapu insurgents.
“The Gukurahundi victims have not been voting for Zanu PF because they love it, they were voting for the ruling party because of fear of a repeat of atrocities,” Ibhetshu LikaZulu co-ordinator Mbuso Fuzwayo told Southern Eye yesterday, adding that voting for Zanu PF had become a survival tactic as some had been denied food aid after being perceived as opposition supporters.
“It is like a woman who stays with a man who raped and impregnated her. But because of poverty and fear, that woman submits herself to that man, that is what is happening. None of the Gukurahundi victims votes for Zanu PF voluntarily,” he said.
One of the Gukurahundi victims from Silobela, who declined to be named, said: “It’s painful to vote for people who tortured us. We are just voting for Zanu PF for the sake of accessing free stuff like health and food since we can’t even access proper jobs. It’s really painful. We fear being victimised again.”
Another Gukurahundi victim, who identified himself as Ndlangamandla, said he had had enough of Zanu PF intimidation and would vote for the opposition in the March 26 by-elections.
Zanu PF spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa yesterday declined to comment on the issue.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has pledged to address the issue by facilitating issuance of identification documents to the survivors, but the victims insist on compensation and prosecution of perpetrators.