A coalition of Matabeleland activists, uMthwakazi Review, has come up with a petition to push for the recognition of Gukurahundi as genocide by countries such as the United Kingdom, United States and South Africa.
The petition, posted four days ago on the online petition platform, change.org, had only attracted 12 signatures by yesterday afternoon out of a targeted 10 000 names. It is addressed to the UK, US and the South African Foreign Affairs and International Relations departments, among others, and seeks to compel the cited governments to officially recognise Gukurahundi as genocide.
“Over 20 000 people were killed during this genocide and millions were displaced to neighbouring African countries. Thousands fled to Western countries,” the petition reads in part.
“Genocide Watch, an international organisation that exists to predict, prevent, stop and punish genocide and other forms of mass murder, in 2010 declared the mass murder of the Matebele in the 1980s by the Zimbabwean government a genocide and therefore a crime against humanity.
“This petition is a call on the South African government and its African allies, the UK and US governments and their allies to officially recognise the Gukurahundi genocide and support the Matebele campaign for truth and justice.
“This petition also calls upon the South African government and its African allies, the UK and US governments and their allies to arrest the perpetrators of this genocide found in their borders and hand them over to the International Criminal Court at The Hague for prosecution.
“Last, but not least, this petition is a call upon the South African government and its African allies, the UK and US governments and their allies to declare the denial of the Gukurahundi genocide a prosecutable crime in their borders.”
President Robert Mugabe once referred to the killing of over 20 000 civilians in Midlands and Matabeleland soon after independence by soldiers from the 5th Brigade as a “moment of madness”.
But the government has resisted pressure to apologise to the victims or pay compensation.