‘Truth-telling can put closure to Gukurahundi’

Source: ‘Truth-telling can put closure to Gukurahundi’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe

BY NIZBERT MOYO

CHIEF Nyangazonke of Kezi, Matabeleland South province, yesterday urged Gukurahundi victims to speak out and air their views on the issue before their traditional leaders.

The traditional leader told Southern Eye that there were several people who were affected by the 1980s brutal killings and torture in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions who need to open up and talk about the emotive issue in order to bring closure to it.

His assertions came at a time Matabeleland civic organisations such as Habakkuk Trust have released sensational documentaries with victims narrating what they went through during the killings that claimed more than 20 000 lives.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is accused of being one of the masterminds of Gukurahundi massacres, recently met a faction of civil society organisations in a bid to ensure the survivors were issued with birth certificates.

Mnangagwa also met chiefs in Bulawayo to deliberate on the way forward concerning the Gukurahundi issue.

Government also wants to give the responsibility of exhumation and reburial of victims to traditional leaders.

Chief Nyangazonke said the Gukurahundi issue needed closure through truth-telling.

“The truth is that this issue has to be dealt with. It is not about who managed to resolve it, but this is an issue which has affected people for a long time in Matabeleland. We cannot speak for them, but we represent them and want to hear whatever they say or want,” he said.

The traditional leader said people from the affected areas were of different cultures and customs, a fact that should be considered if the Gukurahundi issue was to be addressed.

Mnangagwa is said to have tasked traditional leaders to lead the exhumation and reburial process amid concerns that he and his officials could not lead the process when they were implicated in the executions of civilians.

However, analysts have said the gesture was not enough as the victims needed to be compensated.

Between 1983 and 1987, the Zanu PF government led by the then Prime Minister, the late former President Robert Mugabe deployed the North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade to Matabeleland and Midlands provinces to deal with suspected ex-Zipra dissidents.
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