Memorial planned for Gukurahundi victims


A Bulawayo-based pressure group, Ibhetshu LikaZulu, says it plans to hold a memorial service for Gukurahundi victims this weekend.

Mqondisi Moyo, the spokesperson for the pressure group, confirmed the planned service, but declined to disclose the venue.

“We will have the commemorations at a venue yet to be announced, but it will be around the city,” he said.

“If we are to do it in a hall, we will have to seek for police clearance; and if it’s in a church, we will not seek for police clearance because it will be a church service.”

The commemoration is in honour of the estimated 20 000 villagers from Matabeland and Midlands who were massacred during a government-sanctioned military crackdown on perceived insurgents between 1983 and 1987.

The military operation was aimed at civilians supporting the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s PF Zapu party.

The violence only ended after the late PF Zapu leader agreed to a truce with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF and signed a peace pact on December 22, 1987.

Moyo said the theme for the commemorations would be: Towards Restorative Justice.

“We will be bringing lawyers to the event with the hope that they will explain how the issue of victims and perpetrators can be handled in light of the continued plight of the victims. We have invited political parties, civic organisations, the general public and churches to the event. We are currently sending out invitations,” he said.

In a related development, Moyo said the organisation would on January 28 join the rest of the world in commemorating Genocide Day.

“We are planning to have prayers on that day,” he said.
The government has ignored calls to compensate Gukurahundi victims or to apologise for the atrocities.