MTHWAKAZI activists on Friday staged a demonstration outside hotel where Matabeleland traditional leaders were booked for two days ahead of their meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the State House.
BY SILAS NKALA
The meeting was meant to discuss how government could handle the emotive Gukurahundi issue in which the Zanu PF government stands accused of killing an estimated 20 000 people in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces during the Robert Mugabe era.
Before the meeting, Mthwakazi activists picketed in front of the hotel, waving placards in which they declared that Mnangagwa was not qualified to chair the Gukurahundi indaba because of his direct involvement in the genocide.
Mnangagwa’s meeting with chiefs came barely three months after he met civic society organisations (CSOs) under the banner of Matabeleland Collective, at the State House in Bulawayo, to discuss the same issue.
Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) president Mqondisi Moyo said it was on record that chiefs were the custodians of the people so anything to do with Gukurahundi redress, without chiefs, was null and void.
The demonstrators targeted the chiefs before they met Mnangagwa and expressed their disgruntlement that Mnangagwa, as the perpetrator, should preside over the matter.
“The same Mnangagwa now calls the chiefs at the same venue. We also hope that some of these chiefs haven’t been bought as most of them have not raised a voice against the ills committed on their subjects by the same government,” MRP said.
“This makes us doubt whether they understand what made them to be chiefs, as we feel most of them believe that their chieftainship is because of Zanu PF. They are forgetting that they became chiefs because of King Mzilikazi Khumalo, and later under King Lobengula Khumalo.”
Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa yesterday said Mnangagwa had met both the CSOs and chiefs on Gukurahundi, adding it was time he met the victims of Gukurahundi.
“We all know the mother party was primarily the initial target of this onslaught before it took an ethnic genocidal form in result. The intention was to annihilate opposition and create a one party State in Zimbabwe,” Maphosa said.
“Mnangagwa has shown an unwillingness to meet the real target of his government’s Gukurahundi operation.”