THE Zipra Veterans Association has engaged Tsholotsho villagers at Mbamba in a peace and healing programme since the area is one of the districts in Matabeleland North seriously affected by Gukurahundi and elections-related violence.
BY SILAS NKALA
This was revealed by Zipra VA spokesperson, Buster Magwizi, in an interview on Wednesday. He said their visit to Tsholotsho as Zipra leadership was through invitation by the traditional leaders who are concerned to see villagers live in harmony as this year’s elections draw closer.
“We have been at Mbamba area in Tsholotsho South at the invitation by traditional leaders to assist villagers who still live in fear of political violence, basing that fear on the post-independence political disturbances such as the Gukurahundi and the 2008 election violence,” he said.
Magwizi said Zipra, being an affiliate of Zanu, is currently coming out of its shell to claim its position as a liberator of the country from the shackles of brutal colonial rule. He said there is still serious fear in most parts of Matabeleland and it is the duty of Zipra as a military wing that liberated the country to console the people and remove the fear they have.
“We are currently visiting parts of the country to reclaim the power bases that the Zipra and Zapu had. In Tsholotsho there are 22 wards 12 in Tsholotsho South and 10 in Tsholotsho North,” he said. “Our mother body Zapu has fielded 13 council candidates and the party through our engagement is still working on fielding candidates for the remaining nine wards.”
Magwizi said Tsholotsho villagers asked for Zapu to come back and claim its position as a liberation war movement. He said in their campaign Zipra and Zapu preach the gospel of devolution as a concept which might rescue the people in the region from the shackles of poverty.
“We are engaged in a process to remove violence among villagers in various communities,” he said. “The sad part of it is that even the government that unleashed violence on Matabeleland People has not even bothered to apologise and as such violence still lingers in the minds of the people. The government instead blamed us [Zipra and Zapu] for the things we did not do.”
Magwizi said even if they might be no physical violence at the moment, structural violence still exists and Zipra is working with the people as the nation gears for elections.
He, however, encouraged the people to register to vote, so that they partake in the governance of the nation.