National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration co-minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu has called for affirmative action in the implementation of government programmes in areas affected by Gukurahundi.
Addressing delegates at a policy dialogue on access to water in Plumtree last week, Mzila-Ndlovu (MDC) said Midlands and Matabeleland had lost seven years of development after independence because of the military campaign.
“The Matabeleland region is in need of national healing because of Gukurahundi, which claimed more than 20 000 lives and caused untold destruction as well as rape as a weapon of political coercion,” he said.
“Healing is a necessary issue. Let’s not forget that during the first seven years (Gukurahundi era) Matabeleland was deprived of development.
“It does not compare to other areas in terms of development.”
He said at the height of Gukurahundi, even some non-governmental organisations pulled out of the affected areas.
President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF government deployed the 5th Brigade in the Midlands and Matabeleland ostensibly to fight armed rebels.
But human rights activists say the campaign targeted civilians aligned to the opposition PF Zapu led by the late nationalist Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo.
The killings ended in 1987 when PF Zapu signed the Unity Accord with Zanu PF.
Meanwhile, Mzila-Ndlovu told villagers his ministry was failing to operate coherently because of the infighting in the inclusive government.
His other co-ministers are Vice-President John Nkomo (Zanu PF) and Sekai Holland (MDC-T).
“It’s a problem because we have representatives from my party, MDC, MDC-T and Zanu PF in the organ and we are supposed to work together,” Mzila-Ndlovu said.
“The status quo is a microcosm of the macrocosm in the sense that it mirrors what is happening in the entire government.”
Both Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe have admitted that the coalition government has collapsed and called for early elections to end the marriage.