BY SILAS NKALA
THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has come under fire for snubbing a debate on Gukurahundi organised by the Bulawayo-based pressure group Ibhetshu likaZulu.
NPRC officials snubbed an online meeting despite having been invited as they were said to be attending “more important programmes elsewhere”.
Ibhetshu likaZulu secretary general Mbuso Fuzwayo said the commission had initially confirmed its participation but pulled out at the eleventh hour.
Fuzwayo has since written a letter of complaint to NPRC chairman Sello Nare.
“As you are aware Ibhetshu Likazulu organised a Zoom meeting on Friday March 11, under the theme ‘Enhancing public participation in search of truth [and] justice on the Gukurahundi genocide’ to which the commission was invited to make a presentation and you positively responded, and we made publicity material of the meeting with NPRC representative slot,” he wrote.
“Unexpectedly, the commission informed us they couldn’t make a presentation as they were busy elsewhere with other more important programmes. We write to express shock and displeasure of your abhorrent behaviour. We ask ourselves that if a conversation on Gukurahundi is not important to you and your commissioners, then what is important to the commission?”
Fuzwayo said the commission has proved that it cannot fully address the Gukurahundi genocide as per public expectation.
“It is sad that your office among your several commissioners could not find a single commissioner to speak on Gukurahundi and listen to other views that could have enriched the commission in a number of ways. It is shocking that the commission could not spare a moment to listen to a serious Gukurahundi conversation and explain to the nation what the commission has been and planning to do to address Gukurahundi according to the international best practices,” added Fuzwayo.
“This meeting was attended by hundreds and reached thousands of people across the globe. We take this as a serious matter. We feel it reveals your contempt on the matter that should and is core to national reconciliation. Your action seriously reveals either your unpreparedness to address the Gukurahundi matter or contempt, possibly both. We remain at pains as we try to understand the reasons why you chose to snub the meeting.
“We are treating this matter seriously, your behaviour on that day erodes public confidence in the institution entrusted with the delicate matter. We wish to remind the commissioners that they draw their packages from the very same public and the survivors of genocide they are treating with contempt. We want to assure you that we will continue to hold the commission to account and pursue truth and justice on the Gukurahundi genocide.”
Nare was said to be in South Africa for medical attention.
NPRC spokesperson Geoffrey Chada said he was unaware of the issue.
“I think it is the acting chairperson who received the invitation and he could have communicated to the organisation without informing me. I am just hearing this for the first time from you,” Chada said.
Ibhetshu LikaZulu has been lobbying the government to address the emotive Gukurahundi issue which left an estimated 20 000 people in the Midlands and Matabeleland dead after the Zanu PF government deployed the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade soldiers against so-called “dissidents”.
Government has flatly refused to fully apologise but has opened up debate on the issue.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently designated chiefs to lead the Gukurahundi discussions as the nation tries to find truth and reconciliation.