Foreign Affairs deputy minister Moses Mzila Ndlovu will not take part in the national healing organ if it does not conduct its business in a transparent manner that involves exposing perpetrators of political violence.
He said he would not be part of a process that “hides criminals”.
Ndlovu, who is the designate co-minister of the Organ on National Healing, Integration and Reconciliation, was speaking at the social accountability conference organised by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association in Bulawayo on Sunday.
“The current national healing is a superficial programme which has failed to satisfy those affected by violence since independence, especially during the Gukurahundi period,” Ndlovu said.
“I am now a designate co-minister of the organ on national healing, but I will prefer not to be part of it if it would mean I have to hide those who perpetrated and incited Gukurahundi.”
He said national healing would never happen unless those who perpetrated violence and acts of terror confessed and apologised.
“When we have a proper national healing, we must first acknowledge the crime which was committed here in Matabeleland and the Midlands.
“It is not a hidden fact that injustice was done here and I cannot be kind to those who did that by hiding them,” said Ndlovu.
He said it was a sad story that after the liberation struggle, revelations were that more people were killed during the Gukurahundi atrocities than during the liberation struggle.
The deputy minister said he was worried that while some politicians disagreed with the fact that there was genocide in Matabeleland, they, on the other hand, admitted that by endorsing the programme of national healing.
“However on that note, we in government must not be drunk about this issue. It is a sensitive issue.
We must approach this issue with fairness and in a proper way. We cannot as leaders work to cover up for criminals. I will prefer not to be in the organ if it is like that,” he said.
He said if the issue of atrocities was not resolved as a matter of urgency that would mean those who incited and perpetrated the genocide would die and leave their children in animosity with children from the affected parts of the country.
As a result, he said, there would be no peace in the country.
Ndlovu’s utterances come amid calls by Bulawayo residents for those that incited and perpetrated violence on people of the Matabeleland region to come out in the open and apologise.
“We need an apology over what happened here.
Our relatives were just massacred like that and some drunk people say we should just forgive and forget, while those who did that do not even show remorse for what they did,” an unidentified man in the audience said.
“Someone has to apologise to us soon. We are not foolish to be taken for a ride like that.”
Over 20 000 people were reportedly killed during Gukurahundi, which appeared targeted to wipe out supporters of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo and his PF Zapu.
President Robert Mugabe has not formally or categorically apologised for the atrocities but has described the period as “a moment of madness”.
During the 2008 elections over 200 MDC supporters were reportedly killed across the country in the run-up to, during and after the harmonised elections.