Acting Zipra chairperson and retired army colonel Buster Magwizi has said unless President Robert Mugabe tells the nation who he referred to as being mad during the Gukurahundi massacres, tension will always remain high in Matabeleland region where survivors are demanding a public apology and compensation from the government.
Magwizi told NewsDay over the weekend any attempts to silence the people on the Gukurahundi issue could heighten tempers and create tribal conflicts among Zimbabweans.
President Mugabe at some point referred to the Gukurahundi massacres which claimed the lives of over 20 000 people in Matabeleland and Midlands in the 1980s as “a moment of madness”, but fell short of making a public apology over the massacres.
“Gukurahundi will never be swept under the carpet no matter who tries it. (President) Mugabe, who said the genocide was a moment of madness must tell us who was mad. If he accepts that he was mad then he must apologise to us,” said Magwizi.
“The fact that President Mugabe admitted the massacres were ‘a moment of madness’ shows that he agrees the evil operation occurred. His failure to compensate or apologise to the affected people shows that he was not genuine in his statement. He was just covering up to woodwink victims’ relatives,” said Magwizi.
“We fear nothing. Some of our colleagues died at war. We survived and we do not fear to be killed. The way this government is treating Zipra and the people of this region is so pathetic and we are fed up,” he said.
Magwizi said international organisations such as the United Nations, Southern Africa Development Community, Amnesty International and other international human rights organisations have records of the massacres.
He said Zipra is lobbying for assistance in having the perpetrators of such crimes brought to book and tried.
Gukurahundi issue is currently gaining momentum with many people starting to open up on it.
But Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa recently baffled the people when he declared Gukurahundi a closed chapter.