via Kenya killings like Gukurahundi: Moyo – Southern Eye by Nduduzo Tshuma
A MOTION by MDC-T Makokoba MP and Bulawayo provincial chairperson Gorden Moyo in the National Assembly on Wednesday on the recent terrorist attacks in Kenya sparked a heated debate on the Gukurahundi atrocities in Zimbabwe that claimed the lives of an estimated 20 000 people.
The North Korea-trained 5 Brigade killed suspected PF Zapu supporters in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the early 1980s.
Moyo said the attacks at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi were similar to the atrocities committed during Gukurahundi.
“The victims of terror were tortured before they died,” he said. “Hostages were dismembered, had their eyes gouged out. Men were castrated and had their fingers, noses and ears removed with pliers. Their bodies were left hanging from hooks in the ceiling.
“Children were found in fridges with knives still stuck in them.
“This reminds me of the Gukurahundi atrocities in Matabeleland and the Midlands where over 20 000 people were killed in similar fashion by domestic terrorists sponsored by the Zanu PF government,” Moyo added.
He said Zimbabwe was not safe from terrorism and called on the government to employ “a holistic approach in meeting the challenges of transnational terrorism by endorsing the security related counter-terrorism measures of both the African Union and United Nations, such as setting, among other things, a commitment to address underlying conditions conducive to the emergence and spread of terrorism, for example, corruption, human rights abuses and the credibility of elections.
“The real terrorists in Zimbabwe are poverty, unemployment, hunger, pandemic diseases, for example, HIV and Aids, malaria, and TB, which kill our people en masse. These will need to be urgently addressed,” Moyo, who is also MDC-T shadow minister of Foreign Affairs, said.
Zanu PF Makoni South MP Mandi Chimene countered Moyo saying a lot of people had died in the liberation struggle and accused the MDC-T of taking the country backwards.
“Gukurahundi that is being mentioned here — is because of what is happening in Kenya,” Chimene said. “There are those who think that they can take the country backwards so that we have conflict in this country.
“The reason why we have conflicts is because among us blacks, there are those who think that the blood that was shed (during the liberation war) is not enough as yet.”
Mutasa South MP Irene Zindi of Zanu PF said MDC-T members were “singing” so much about Gukurahundi, adding she was not condoning it, but asked why the MDC-T was not sympathising with freedom fighters killed in various camps during the war.
MDC-T Bulawayo East MP Thabitha Khumalo said there was a difference between the brutality of the colonisers and that of Gukurahundi.
“With our colonisers, the brutality was of white against the blacks and for Gukurahundi, it was black against black,” she said. “It was our own kith and kin that killed defenceless pregnant women whose tummies were slit open, the foetus removed mashed to pulp.
“We cannot compare the issue of Gukurahundi to what happened at the Westgate Mall, not at all.
“We are here talking about what happened in Kenya. If there is anything that happened among us as kith and kin, it is something else.
“Perpetrators of Gukurahundi need to know that we need to speak about it, not as MDC-T members, but as citizens of Zimbabwe who were affected by this atrocity,” she said.
Khumalo said there were people who still did not have birth certificates because of Gukurahundi.
“As we speak, there are people who were not properly buried yet people are worried about those that perished during the liberation war. They are not worried about those that perished during the Gukurahundi era,” she said.
“We need to be very fair. The people that died during the Gukurahundi also have to be properly buried. As we speak, our children went to South Africa and people are claiming that they are not educated, yet these are some of the survivors of the effects of the Gukurahundi.”