Bulawayo Metropolitan Senator Dorothy Khumalo says she still lives with the trauma of having seen friends and relatives bayoneted, among other horrific acts perpetrated against victims of the Gukurahundi atrocities.
She was debating the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill which had been introduced in the Upper House for its second and third reading by National Healing minister Phelekezela Mphoko, who is also one of the country’s two Vice-Presidents.
Khumalo said government should not just pass the law without making an effort to make peace with survivors of the 1980s atrocities, which claimed a majority 20 000 Ndebele civilians.
“As for us who were involved in this matter, we request that you approach us so that you hear how we feel and what we witnessed,” she said.
“How do I reconcile if you have not approached me so that I can also tell you what is in my heart? As I am here in Parliament, I am prepared to pour out my heart.”
The MDC-T legislator said victims of the atrocities were still in pain.
“. . . There is a need for all us to be addressed on this issue so that we can be reconciled on how we can smoke the peace pipe. There is a lot of pain among the people,” she said.
“We actually witnessed some of these things (atrocities). Some of them were bayoneted and we put them in hospital.
“We saw those things and I would like to be talked to so that I can be reconciled. I still feel pain when I see some of the children of my (late) friends.”
The lawmaker said she was working in the Health ministry when the atrocities happened.
“. . . We still have that bleeding heart especially when we were working for the ministry of Health . . . There are a lot of people who are like me and are still in pain. This is because they were witnesses to some of these things.”
The Gukurahundi atrocities were perpetrated by the now-defunct Fifth Brigade, a North Korea-trained army unit.
The crack unit had been deployed in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces ostensibly to hunt down armed insurgents who were sympathetic to then opposition PF Zapu leader and then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe’s bitter rival Joshua Nkomo.
Ndebeles still feel it was an attempt at ethnic cleansing by the Zimbabwean leader, who was keen to see the fruition of his one-party state ambition.
Mugabe said while burying Nkomo at the national shrine in 1999 that the atrocities were “an act of madness”.
He has made no further comment on the emotive matter.
However, Mphoko has made an attempt to distance his boss from the genocide, often saying the killings were a Western conspiracy tailored at destabilising what was newly-independent Zimbabwe at the time. — NewZim