BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
ZAPU has urged its supporters and Gukurahundi victims to attend hearings on national healing to share accounts of the 1980s mass killings to ensure the “truth is not hidden”.
The opposition party said this was of paramount importance as its military wing, the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) ex-combatants, were primary targets of government-sanctioned killings.
The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has been holding nationwide hearings on past disturbances to find closure on the nation’s battered
human rights record.
“The presidency urges the people of the Midlands and the Matabeleland regions to attend meetings organised by the NPRC on the Gukurahundi genocide. Zapu was
the physical and the political target of the Fifth Brigade,” Zapu presidential spokesperson Mkhululi Zulu said yesterday.
“Zapu members must go and tell the truth as it happened. The attempts to hide the truth are evident … It is, therefore, those who saw it as it occurred who
must attend the meetings and give the accurate accounts.”
This call comes after Zapu established a committee on Gukurahundi to address issues specific to the opposition party because it was a “direct political and
physical target” of the Fifth Brigade incursions.
The committee is chaired by legal secretary Themba Hwalima. Other committee members are Zulu, Roma Nyathi, Strike Mkandla, Mark Mbayiwa, Vivian Ncube, Ruth
Ncube and Iphithule Maphosa.
Recently, Zapu national liaison officer Ruth Memeza Ncube said the consultative meetings were nothing, but a waste of money and time.
“Gukurahundi did not happen in the hotels where we are seated today. It happened in the rural areas, and [NPRC chairperson Selo] Nare, I will tell you that
these meetings we are doing here are not going to yield any results. It is a waste of time and resources because this [Gukurahundi issue] is a spiritual
warfare,” she said.
Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa said the party was a primary target of Gukurahundi and whenever there are meetings called to discuss the issue, it is
necessary for them to attend and state their position despite their dissatisfaction on the way process is conducted.
“Zapu is and was the primary target and direct victim of the genocide. As such, it is imperative that Zapu members attend the NPRC meetings so that we get to know the real events of that dark time of the country’s history. We need to hear these stories from the horse’s mouth rather than the hearsay stories coming from political parties and CSOs [civic society organisations] that didn’t exist during that time,” Maphosa said.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, through the Justice ministry, has announced a cocktail of measures to address the emotive issue after meeting Matabeleland clergy and civic society leaders under the banner Matabeleland Collective.
The processes include allowing exhumations and reburials and issuance of birth and death certificates, but critics argue these processes were meaningless without acknowledgement, an apology and justice delivery.