BULAWAYO civic groups and opposition political parties have criticised Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo for his remarks that Gukurahundi was a non-issue, when it came to the issuance of birth certificates and other identification documents to children born during the infamous era.
BY SILAS NKALA
Chombo made the remarks in the National Assembly on Wednesday, while responding to MDC-T vice-president, Thokozani Khupe, who wanted to know how under the new biometric system, people from Matabeleland and Midlands provinces, who were struggling to obtain identification documents after their parents were killed during the Gukurahundi era, would be assisted.
Ibhetshu likaZulu secretary-general, Mbuso Fuzwayo said his organisation was saddened though not shocked by the unfortunate response by Chombo that Gukurahundi was a non-issue.
“His (Chombo) statement is a confirmation of our views that Zanu PF remains unrepentant and see nothing wrong with butchering over 20 000 of our people and that Zanu PF government will never create a conducive platform for true national healing and reconciliation for the victims of Gukurahundi to find closure, and the nations to find long lasting peace and reconciliation,” he said.
“Apart from being a senior minister in the government, Chombo is a politburo member and Zanu PF secretary for administration, which removes all doubt that his unfortunate and contemptuous statement is a long-held Zanu PF position.”
Fuzwayo said these revealing statements were an eye-opener to victims of Gukurahundi, who were members of Zanu PF that the government remained unrepentant of its past sins against them.
“These statements to us reveal that (Vice-President Phelekezela) Mphoko’s efforts and statements on Gukurahundi are an exercise in futility and how weak is his position in the party and government. Thus, any expectation that he will be able to work towards creation of a reconciled state is nothing, but a joke in bad taste,” he said.
Mthwakazi Republic Party spokesperson, Mbonisi Gumbo said they were not surprised by Chombo’s remarks.
“Chombo and his party have never apologised for the death of over 20 000 of our relatives, since 1987 and he is here telling us it’s a non-issue. That is how irresponsible Zanu PF is,” Gumbo said.
People’s Democratic Party Bulawayo organiser, Bekithemba Nyathi also said they were not surprised by the comment.
“The only thing Zimbabweans should do is to show them the red card,” Nyathi said.
Zapu deputy spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said: “His remarks are synonymous with one who’s trying to dodge the inevitable – that is accounting for their actions and justice.”
“We, however, would assist the minister who is obviously running scared by reminding him that brushing a genocidal crime aside by making it a non-issue will not make it go away. Chombo and company must man up and face the consequences of their actions,” Maphosa said.
Human rights activist, Dewa Mavhinga said there was a direct connection between lack of birth certificates and national identity documents for people affected by Gukurahundi.
“Chombo should not insult Gukurahundi victims by suggesting that it is a non-issue when it has been well-documented, including by the Legal Resources Foundation and Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in the 90s,” he said.
“Pretending that Gukurahundi is a non-issue will not address the underlying problems and the urgent need for justice, accountability, truth, and reparations over what happened during that dark period. The government must not bury its head in the sand over Gukurahundi; it must do the right thing and openly address the issues.”