PEOPLE should avoid tribalising the issue of Gukurahundi as this was fuelling conflict between Ndebeles and Shonas, an official from the Ecumenical Church Leaders’ Forum (ECLF) has said.
Report by Pamela Mhlanga
Programmes manager for the ECLF Reverend Sikhalo Cele made the remarks on the sidelines of a peace workshop held in Bulawayo last Wednesday.
“The problem about the political conflict in Zimbabwe, particularly the Gukurahundi era, is that people tend to treat the Gukurahundi conflict as something between Shonas and Ndebele,” he said.
Gukurahundi, a government operation where a crack army unit was deployed to suppress dissent in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the 1980s, left an estimated 20 000 people dead as the State ostensibly hunted down armed dissidents.
President Robert Mugabe later described the era as a “moment of madness”.
There have been calls for the perpetrators of the atrocities to be brought to book.
Cele said the peace workshop, jointly organised by ECLF and the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, was part of efforts to sensitise people on how to manage conflict and promote nation-building in the country.
“Like-minded church leaders who want peace came together to give Zimbabwe a credible voice on peace building and reconciliation. We realised that peace without development is not durable and development without peace is not sustainable,” he said.