HomeLocal NewsNkala remarks invite backlash

Nkala remarks invite backlash


Zanu PF founder member and former Cabinet minister Enos Nkala’s comments that mass graves discovered in Matabeleland were not necessarily of Gukurahundi victims have stirred a hornet’s nest.

The NewsDay switchboard was yesterday jammed by angry villagers who accused Nkala, the country’s former Defence minister at the height of the atrocities, in 1985, of attempting to stifle debate over the issue.

Angry villagers, some who claimed to have borne the brunt of the atrocities blamed on the 5th Brigade, described Nkala’s remarks as offensive.

“The remains are not being discovered,” said a caller who identified himself only as Mpofu.

“Survivors who were made to bury the victims after they were killed know the graves.

“Soldiers gathered people where the killings were committed and survivors were forced to bury and dance on those graves,” he said. “Only those who were thrown into Bhalagwe mass grave are known and those who disappeared can then be discovered.

“As for the graves in Lupane, Tsholotsho and Plumtree, survivors who were made to dance on the graves know the graves and that is not a discovery,” Mpofu said.

Mazondla Khutshwa said his brother, Hitler Khanye, who was a teacher at Zimatugwa Primary School, was killed when the soldiers raided the school in 1982.

“Even those who were pupils at the school and are survivors, can testify.

“We are living relatives of victims and we know where our relatives were buried in mass graves. So saying the remains are discoveries is wrong,” Khutshwa said.

“What made people to keep quiet about these issues was too much fear.

“But now that things are opening up, we can tell the nation where our brutally murdered relatives are buried,” said another caller who refused to be identified.

An estimated 20 000 villagers were reportedly massacred during the State-sanctioned military operation in Matabeleland and Midlands regions.

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