HABBAKUK Trust is lobbying regional and international rights groups to exert pressure on government to address the 1980s Gukurahundi mass killings.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The Bulawayo-based civic organisation last week held an all-stakeholders meeting on Gukurahundi, where it was agreed that communal and individual reparation be paid to the victims’ families, survivors and their children.
The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), represented by commissioner Leslie Ncube, was also in attendance.
Habbakuk Trust chief executive officer Dumisani Nkomo told Southern Eye yesterday that the organisation will produce a booklet on the issue for use in its engagements with regional and international rights groups to force government to address the issue.
“We have resolved to produce a booklet which will guide the NPRC commission in addressing the Gukurahundi issue. We intend to use the booklet as a tool to engage the international and regional communities to pile pressure on government.
“We do not want the Gukurahundi issue to be limited to Zimbabwe only, that is the reason for our engagements with regional and international rights’ groups,” Nkomo said. An estimated 20 000 people were killed in Matabeleland and parts of the Midlands in the 1980s when then President Robert Mugabe deployed the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade to crackdown on alleged dissent to his rule.
Mugabe later described Gukurahundi as a moment of madness.
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His successor Emmerson Mnangagwa keeps reiterating the need to let go of the past, angering rights groups and victims in the process.
Nkomo added: “Individuals and communities affected by Gukurahundi atrocities must be compensated by the government. If you look at most of the places where Gukurahundi occurred, there is under development.
“The government needs to compensate these areas by embarking on massive development projects such as building dams, schools, irrigations schemes and other infrastructure. The government must ensure there is a closure on the matter by acknowledging the atrocities as well issuing a public apology.”