HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsComment: Gukurahundi cannot be wished away

Comment: Gukurahundi cannot be wished away

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It has become clear as day the Gukurahundi nightmare will remain a nagging albatross around Zimbabwe’s neck unless and until that matter is satisfactorily and conclusively dealt with.

It is also very clear no amount of ranting or denial or threats or pretence at keeping old wounds closed, will close the Gukurahundi chapter in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

And for Zanu PF (as in the original Zanu PF which stands accused of “swallowing” PF Zapu and its leaders) attempts to threaten or to force the people of this aggrieved region to “let sleeping dogs lie” can only backfire — in a manner the party may regret.

This observation is informed by the ongoing raging debate over the Gukurahundi massacres and what should be done about that “sad” episode in the history of Zimbabwe written when Zanu PF and its leaders, including President Robert Mugabe, found themselves in a politically drunken “moment of madness”.

There have been in the past two or so years, a proliferation of political bodies and civic organisations in Matabeleland which, other than claiming a political stake in the country, demand a clear resolution of the Gukurahundi grievance.

The calls for reparation and unequivocal apologies have in the recent past been louder and angrier than ever before.

It will not be easy for government and the former ruling party — even as represented by Matabeleland children of the soil like Vice- President John Nkomo, Obert Mpofu, Simon Khaya Moyo and others — to shake that Gukurahundi monkey off their back.

The issue has become so emotional it has already cost the party votes and alienated the Nkomos, Mpofus and the Moyos from the people of the region who have openly rejected them as greedy and selfish sellouts.

The rejected Matabeleland “sons of the soil” have not helped their situation or that of their “foreign” party any better by dismissing as false and unfounded complaints of marginalisation from the region. In fact, they stirred the hornet’s nest and the result is that shriller voices have emerged declaring the Gukurahundi chapter is not closed and will not be wished away just because a few individuals want it shut.

“You cannot heal wounds without opening them up. You have to open them and thoroughly clean them before applying medication,” said a contributor at a public hearing by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Human Rights and Justice in Bulawayo on Tuesday.

“Some of us were affected and we want this thing addressed. We want to be compensated for our loss. Those who don’t want to be compensated should be left alone,” another one said.

It appears, instead of being arrogant and banking on threats, the way to go for Zanu PF — a way that could perhaps save some face for their rejected Matabeleland comrades — is to come up with a method of appeasing the Matabeleland and Midlands regions.

First and foremost, a sincere public liability and apology is required. After that, inquiries should be made on how to pacify the people by compensating their losses and appeasing the land in the traditional way that is accepted by the people of those lands.

Without that, the Gukurahundi ghost will haunt people forever and may kill others.

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