THE secessionist Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) has started lobbying South Africa President Jacob Zuma’s government to push for the Gukurahundi atrocities to be included on Sadc’s agenda for the victims to get justice.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
MRP foreign affairs secretary Ackim Gasela Mhlanga said they chose South Africa because it had the muscle to cause the regional bloc to table the issue on the agenda of its next summit.
In a letter dated June 17 and addressed to South Africa’s Home Affairs ministry, Mhlanga said they were now convinced that President Robert Mugabe’s government was not keen on resolving the issue, hence the appeal to Sadc.
“We propose that your two influential governments of South Africa and Botswana, and the rest of Sadc help us as the people of Matabeleland get justice for the Gukurahundi atrocities. Help us get our freedom back, help us get self-determination. Put pressure on the Zimbabwean government to return the country to rule of law,” he wrote.
Mhlanga also pleaded with the South African government to instruct immigration authorities to allow Zimbabweans to travel back home with their belongings once they are arrested in that country for staying illegally.
“Finally, at least allow our people that you would have arrested to come back with whatever moveable assets they would have acquired and there has to be a way for them to be able to recover their property and money in banks after deportations or deaths considering as well their families back home,” he added.
The MRP is pushing for a separate Matabeleland State as the answer to the region’s underdevelopment and marginalisation characterised by, among others, the continued closure of industries.
According to the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice, the crackdown orchestrated by the North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade left about 20 000 civilians dead in Matabeleland and Midlands in a conflict that still threatens the country’s stability nearly three decades later.
Mugabe has described the 1980s mass killings as a moment of madness, while his deputy Phelekezela Mphoko has dismissed the massacres as a Western myth to cause regional instability.