Political parties in Matabeleland have hailed United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillays call for the arrest of Gukurahundi perpetrators, saying it was long overdue.
Pillay, who left on Friday after a five-day working visit to assess Zimbabwes human rights situation, said past human rights abuses should be investigated and perpetrators brought to book.
According to the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, about 20 000 civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands were killed by the Fifth Brigade of the Zimbabwe National Army during a government-sanctioned crackdown on what turned out to be a handfull of armed dissidents operating in the area.
In 2010, United States-based Genocide Watch classified the killings as genocide, paving way for trial of the perpetrators at the International Criminal Court.
MDC-T deputy spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo said Gukurahundi survivors were still affected by the massacres, adding that the perpetrators be brought to book.
It is now 30 years down the line and the survivors of Gukurahundi are still mourning and are denied the basic rights for them to be citizens in this country, Khumalo said.
They dont have birth certificates and so cannot open bank accounts or access education.
The perpetrators should be brought to book. Over and above, there must be recourse.
They can be given money, but they must still access education and the government must pay. But the perpetrators should be arrested and taken to The Hague.
Zapu secretary for information Mark Mbaiwa said: This is exactly what we want to see happening.
In the past we were worried that the West behaved as if they didnt realise or recognise that the people of Matabeleland and Midlands were butchered.
We are happy now that they not only recognise it, but speak out against it. The arrests should have happened yesterday.
Patriotic Union of Matabeleland president Bancinyane Ndiweni said the arrests were long overdue. Gukurahundi must never be swept under the carpet. Its a closed chapter to those who did it, he said.
An axe may forget that it cut a tree, but the tree will never forget. We will never forget the genocide.
Pillay is right to raise that issue and for us in Matabeleland and Midlands, she may turn out to be our messiah.
MDC national spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube, however, said what should be done about the past injustices must not be prescriptive, but should come from Zimbabwe as a whole.
We still remain firm on our call for a process that will culminate in Zimbabwe finding lasting peace, he said.
We dont look at it from a prescriptive level, but are saying society must find a template. Definitely we cannot ask the perpetrators to give justice, but still we want a solution that is not retributive.