SOUTHERN NEWS | Govt tampers with Gukurahundi mass graves 

Source: SOUTHERN NEWS | Govt tampers with Gukurahundi mass graves – DailyNews Live

Jeffrey Muvundusi      12 September 2018

BULAWAYO – Political activists here have taken a swipe at President
Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government for tampering with Gukurahundi mass graves
at Bhalagwe Shrine, in Kezi, Matabeleland South Province.

This comes after it emerged that government erased inscriptions on the
mass graves leaving them blank in what political activists say is a move
to conceal evidence of the deadly atrocities which left thousands dead, in
post-independence civil disturbances.

After erasing the inscriptions, authorities replaced them with a
commemoratory structure inscribed; “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” erected
behind the two mass graves.

Bhalagwe is the Gukurahundi flash point where thousands of those killed
were thrown into a disused mine. Initially, soon after the atrocities,
names of victims were inscribed on the mass graves but were later removed
by Mugabe regime, in what observers viewed as a clear attempt to conceal

As if that was not enough, the Gukurahundi graves were later mixed with
those of local war heroes which saw the shrine being turned into a Matopo
District Heroes Acre.

Mthwakazi Republic Party president Mqondisi Moyo who led an entourage of
his party members on their usual visit to the site, on Monday said they
were shocked to realise that the two mass graves had been tempered with.
“The Gukurahundi mass graves in Bhalagwe revealed some shocking
developments,” he said.

“The delegation which was accompanied by victims and international
journalists was shocked to discover that the inscriptions on the graves
that read `Mass Graves’ have been erased by plastering on them. The
concealing plaster is still new, indicating that this horrible act was
done recently,” Moyo said.

“The victims of Gukurahundi were evidently pained with this blatant act of
tampering with the evidence of the genocide. Bhalagwe is not a heroes
shrine; it is a genocide victims’ site.”

Ironically, Moyo said the names of the heroes of the struggle are visible,
while those of the victims have been removed. He, however, said he was
confident that the removal of the mass graves inscriptions and the
erection of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were done during the Heroes’
Day holiday as they had visited the place a month before.

“We don’t need the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Bhalagwe, instead we
need the Plaque of the Gukurahundi victims and the tomb of the unknown
Gukurahundi victims who disappeared and are unaccounted for,” Moyo said.

In May, activists Ibhetshu Likazulu were twice blocked by the police as
they were constructing a plaque of the Gukurahundi victims at the site.
Moyo said the perpetrators of the genocide are surely on a mission and are
not relenting in burying the truths on Gukurahundi. “We will fight this
traverse of justice for the victims of Gukurahundi. We demand that those
names must be returned as an act of remorse and solace to the families and
relatives of the victims. Hands off our fathers and mothers and allow them
to sleep in peace. They cannot be tormented while living and when dead,”
he said.

Dabengwa condemns NPRC

BULAWAYO – ZAPU president Dumiso Dabengwa has challenged President
Emmerson Mnangagwa to review his appointment of the National Peace and
Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) whose composition he said was improper
rendering it ineffective and meaningless to its cause.

Last year, Mnangagwa signed the National Peace and Reconciliation
Commission (NPRC) Bill into law to operationalise the commission that was
appointed in 2016. The NPRC Act provides for the functions, powers,
operations and removal from office of members of the commission.

According to Section 252 of the Constitution, the NPRC’s functions are to
ensure post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation. However, the
Commission that has been undertaking consultations countrywide in the past
few months has been received with mixed feelings. With Mnangagwa having
been given a five-year mandate to lead the country, Dabengwa felt it was
time the issue of national healing be prioritised.

“NPRC should be formed afresh, I mean its composition, I think the
president must ponder over it and see exactly how it is,” Dabengwa told
Southern News.

“The composition was not well considered. We want the people who are
relevant and competent enough; those are the people who should be able to
speak to the elders in the rural areas in the language they understand.
So, there is need for people in the commission who understand other
people’s language,” he said.

In February this year, debate on the consultative dialogue by the NPRC had
to be aborted in Bulawayo after local activists disrupted proceedings,
saying the composition of the commission is not reflective of the national
outlook while others called for an international organisation to deal with
disturbances of the past. The activists claimed there was no tribal
balance in the commission which eventually discredited its sincerity in
conducting its duties. However, asked about the idea of having the NPRC
under the office of Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Dabengwa said: “It is
supposed to be an independent commission so when it falls under someone’s
office then there is a problem. We want to see a completely independent

Dabengwa also attacked Mnangagwa for prioritising the recent shooting of
protesters by the army in Harare ahead of the Gukurahundi atrocities.

“Mnangagwa should be sincere enough and do what is right, six people were
shot by the army and a Commission of Inquiry was quickly put in place but
we have a situation where he is failing to put in place a stronger
commission for 20 000 people who perished, surely it shows something is
wrong,” the Zapu president said.

In December last year, Dabengwa declared that if the Gukurahundi issue was
not addressed, he was going to disregard the law and lead reburials of the
victims. However, in a major climb down, Dabengwa said he was now
assessing the situation.

“I said the statement before these other developments. We want to give
Mnangagwa an opportunity to reconsider how he will handle all these

In 2016, in an interview with United Kingdom-based magazine New Statesman,
Mnangagwa said reports linking him to the atrocities were being peddled by
his political foes to soil his image.

Time to give youths a chance: Masuku

BULAWAYO – Former Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Angeline Masuku,
83, says she won’t quit politics, hence will keep her feet on the ground
despite age fast catching up with her.

A former governor of Matabeleland South Province during the new
dispensation,  Masuku served as a provincial minister for nine months till
last week when she was replaced by Judith Ncube.

“I am full time in politics, I won’t quit politics, I was born in it
remember?” Masuku told Southern News after she was left in the cold by
President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“I am a (Zanu PF) central committee member, so I am not going anywhere. It
is politics that brought government, so we are here to stay,” she said.

A former liberation fighter, Masuku collapsed at White City Stadium in
April this year while reading Mnangagwa’s speech during Uhuru
celebrations, leaving many questioning if she was still fit enough for
such a demanding job. At the time she denounced those who were calling for
her to step down.

Although she has been left in the cold, Masuku praised Mnangagwa’s recent
Cabinet appointments saying it was time for the younger generation to take

“We are happy with what happened I think it’s time that we give young
people a chance to be in leadership positions. We have to groom them and
remember the best way to groom someone is when you are there monitoring,”
she said.

Masuku, described the short stint she had as Provincial Affairs minister
as fruitful though the economy made most of her ambitions impossible.

Upon being appointed to the post, Masuku announced an ambitious plan to
rebrand Bulawayo as the best investment destinations in the country within
100 days.

“As far as I am concerned my tenure was fruitful, people of Bulawayo are
finding each other, and we work together as one united family regardless
of tribe and race,” she said.

“We had a think tank initiative which was part of reviving Bulawayo; we
engaged the business community and they were united.”

She, however, said the economic situation was the biggest let down.

“The biggest challenge was the economic situation in the country. We had a
number of wishes to revive Bulawayo but there was no money.”