APOSTOLIC Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) leader, Johannes Ndanga has said the sect is ready to lead Gukurahundi peace and reconciliation efforts to bring closure to the emotive issue, adding it is a dark past that cannot be ignored forever.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Ndanga, who described himself as a peace Ambassador, bemoaned what he called the “abuse” of the Gukurahundi massacres by opposition parties he claimed were seeking mileage out of the 1980’s mass killings.
“To me Gukurahundi is a peace issue. I am an ambassador of peace and it is within my duty to lead peace and reconciliation efforts to bring closure to the Gukurahundi issue. Gukurahundi is a painful issue for the people of Matabeleland and Midlands, but sadly we have opposition parties who seek to gain cheap mileage out of it.
“We have seen them (opposition parties) forming parties here and using the Gukurahundi as a campaign issue which is wrong,” Ndanga told journalists on Saturday on the sidelines of the ACCZ annual conference held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
The conference ended yesterday.
According to the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice, close to 20 000 civilians were killed during the 1983-87 Gukurahundi massacres after President Robert Mugabe unleashed a North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade into Matabeleland to crush a supposed rebellion.
Mugabe has described the massacres as a moment of madness but offered no apology.
Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu has set December as the month when the opposition party holds annual memorials to commemorate the end of the Gukurahundi genocide.
A fortnight ago, police blocked Dabengwa, Ibhetshu LikaZulu pressure group and several others from holding a memorial service for Gukurahundi victims at Bhalagwe detention centre in Kezi, Matabeleland South province.
Zapu has, however, said it will not be cowed into abandoning plans to hold memorials for Gukurahundi victims.
“We shall, henceforth, every December commemorate the end of genocide on our people and as they celebrate, we shall mourn our murdered loved ones and commemorate the end of the Gukurahundi genocide.
“We shall commemorate the day when the blood of our Zapu family was used on paper to come up with the so-called unity accord, the document that is evidently a celebration by the hand that killed over 20 000 in order to achieve a one party state in Zimbabwe,” Zapu spokesperson Iphuthile Maphosa told journalists recently.