Source: Dumiso: Gukurahundi effects to last long – NewZimbabwe 05/06/2016
DUMISO Dabengwa has bemoaned “tribal and racial polarisation” in the country, saying the damage caused by Gukurahundi will take long to “overcome and forget” due to some people’s “ambivalence” to the consequences of a brutal 1980s campaign which killed 20 000 civilians in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
Dabengwa said this Saturday while addressing ZIPRA war veterans in Jotsholo, Matebeleland North.
The ZAPU leader said despite being “second to none in contributing to and supporting the independence struggle” Matebeleland North was lagging behind in development.
He mourned what he termed the “unbalanced development” adding that while Matebeleland North was a source of unprocessed raw materials like timber, minerals and wildlife products all these were being extracted and transported elsewhere within the country and abroad.
“In fact, like other Ndebele speaking areas in the country, this province was subjected to the politically and ethnically inspired “Gukurahundi” killings of the early 1980s in which over 20,000 unarmed civilians were killed by soldiers,” said Dabengwa.
He added, “..the ruling elite and their apologists are unhappy each time the subject of “Gukurahundi” massacres is brought up, yet at the same time they talk of the need for reconciliation.
“This ambivalence is really queer because even racist South Africa found it necessary to atone for “Apartheid” and to start a peace and reconciliation process that built on admission of culpability before forgiveness could be expected.
“What makes our situation difficult is that when the transition to genuine democracy was supposed to start, parts of the country were subjected to a punitive and brutal campaign whose consequences will take long to be overcome, let alone forgotten.”
The former Home affairs minister said, as a result of the 1980s terror campaign, many war veterans and young people fled the country, adding “this was later compounded by economic decline that forced unemployed youths to seek employment in neighbouring countries”.
“Unbalanced development can be reduced if meaningful devolution is implemented. Such devolution would ensure that the priorities of the province are set by its people and a substantial proportion of the resources is used for local development,” said Dabengwa.
He added, “Indeed, all provinces in the country need devolution in order to reduce outflow of resources before host communities have a meaningful share for their development.
“It is encouraging in this regard that political patronage and arbitrary allocation of land is being resisted by communities and local leadership, including traditional chiefs.”
Dabengwa said the ZPRA Veterans Association was going to identify unmarked graves of “many fighters who lost their lives in the war and in the post-war atrocities after independence”.
The ZAPU leader also bemoaned “racial, tribal and class polarization” which is prevalent in Zimbabwe, adding that such developments “would have been surprising to those who assumed that the independence they fought for would be the beginning of a new world not just in the complexion of rulers but in the empowerment of all citizens without distinction”.