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Gukurahundi sparks storm

TEMPERS flared on Tuesday night during a public debate on elections at Sapes Trust in Harare when the moderator raised the issue of Gukurahundi atrocities.

TEMPERS flared on Tuesday night during a public debate on elections at Sapes Trust in Harare when the moderator raised the issue of Gukurahundi atrocities, saying it was beyond belief that victims of the killings could vote for Zanu PF.

Senior Reporter

Renowned academic Rudo Gaidzanwa was the moderator during the debate on a topic: Zimbabwe Elections 2013: A Post-Mortem, pitting discussants Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC-T, Godwills Masimirembwa of Zanu PF and a senior researcher from the Research and Advocacy Unit, Tony Reeler.

Gaidzanwa was immediately interjected by angry Zanu PF supporters who were present during the discussions.

The supporters had apparently been irked by the moderator’s earlier assertion that Zanu PF had also bussed people to register in Mt Pleasant.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace estimates that about 20 000 civilians, mainly from Matabeleland, were massacred during the Gukurahundi atrocities committed by the North-Korean-trained Fifth Brigade during the 1980s.

President Robert Mugabe has since described the events as “a moment of madness” without making any apologies.

“From your discussions, one would like to find out how Gukurahundi victims in Matabeleland could suddenly bury the hatchet and vote for Zanu PF, a party which committed those atrocities, and also given that Zanu PF had never won a single seat there since 1980,” said Gaidzanwa.

“There were also many strangers being bussed into Mount Pleasant, where I live, during the voter registration process resulting in my children who wanted to register as voters failing to do so because of the long queues.”

An angered Zanu PF supporter sought a point of order over Gaidzanwa’s accusations of bussing of people saying how did she know they were Zanu PF supporters as they could have been MDC-T.

Zanu PF activist Goodson Nguni weighed in, saying Gaidzanwa should explain the logic of how victims of Ian Smith’s Rhodesian regime could also vote for the MDC-T.

In response, Masimirembwa said the 1987 Unity Accord signed by Mugabe and the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo was bearing fruit and that was why Matabeleland people voted for Zanu PF.

“Zanu PF has a majority in Matabeleland and all that this demonstrates from the time of the Unity Accord is we are seeing the fruits of peace amongst our people,” Masimirembwa said.