The erection of a monument at Balagwe camp in Matobo — where suspected victims of the Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980s were mass-buried — now hangs in the balance following reports the Ministry of Home Affairs has not approved the project.
Currently, the site is being used as a District Heroes’ Acre and falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
In February, a Bulawayo-based non-governmental organisation, the Zimbabwe Victims of Organised Violence Trust (Zivov), claimed it had applied to the Matobo Rural District Council (RDC) to erect a monument at the camp.
The site is meant to be a reminder of the lives lost and the torture at the concentration camp.
The chairman of Matobo RDC, Washy Sibanda, told NewsDay on Tuesday the issue had been taken to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“We discussed the issue and have written a letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs for the setting-up of the monument,” he said.
“The fact that currently the place is being used as a District Heroes’ Acre means that the Ministry of Home Affairs will have to deal with the issue,” he said.
“Whether they reverse the current status quo or not is totally up to them, so the issue is now in their hands.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for all national museums and monuments in the country.
However, Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi on Wednesday said he had not yet received any correspondence on the issue.
“I have not yet received any letter about the setting-up of a monumental site at Balagwe,” he said.
“All monuments are the responsibility of the Home Affairs ministry.”
Mohadi said the granting of the request would depend on the reasons given for the setting-up of a monument.
“We will only grant the request for setting up a monumental site if the reasons given are reasonable,” he said.
“If we feel that the reasons given are not logical, then the request will be ignored.”