HomeLocal NewsGukurahundi jibe: Zipra combatants angered

Gukurahundi jibe: Zipra combatants angered

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Vice-President John Nkomo has reportedly angered former Zipra combatants after he called for an end to a national debate into the emotive post-Independence Gukurahundi atrocities.

The former combatants accused Nkomo of misleading the nation when he reportedly claimed the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo said debate on the Gukurahundi issue be closed.

“The way to bring closure to Gukurahundi is by engagement to discuss such issues, but quite often, those who talk about it were never victims or were born yesterday and are too young to comprehend what happened and why,” Nkomo said.

“President (Robert) Mugabe came to Bulawayo when we were over that period with the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo and we all went to Brethren-In-Christ Church here in town and he said it was a moment of madness. They agreed with Umdala uNkomo that it should be a closed chapter.”

But, former Zipra combatants said up until his death, Joshua Nkomo was still battling to recover properties confiscated by the government during the disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands.

“How then did he declare the matter closed?” former Zipra combatants questioned in a statement released early this week.

“The Gukurahandi events have remained shrouded in secrecy with the government and Zanu PF refusing to discuss the issue of the victims. These events were detrimental to the welfare of Zipra veterans who are still suffering physically, psychologically and financially due to the government’s refusal to return their businesses and properties confiscated in 1982. Government and Zanu PF’s refusal to address the unresolved issues of Zipra and the civilian Gukurahundi victims and even the continued denigrating of the then commander-in-chief of Zipra, Dr Joshua Nkomo, will further polarise the nation,” they said in a statement.

“If Vice-President John Nkomo is to succeed in assisting us resolve outstanding issues, there is need to rebuild trust with Zipra veterans and the broader population by acknowledging what happened then, and that the real victims have been ignored. We have concerns related to the historical arrangements of the Unity Accord which excluded Zipra and the civilian victims.”

Soon after independence in 1980, government unleashed a North Korean-trained army unit to deal with what was described as a dissident menace in the two regions.

An estimated 20 000 civilians, mainly PF Zapu supporters, were killed and thousands more driven away from their homes.

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