BY SILAS NKALA
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa will tomorrow fly into a storm as he visits Bulawayo to meet Matabeleland chiefs to review progress made in addressing Gukurahundi issues.
Civic society organisations (CSOs) have been complaining that there is no movement towards resolving the issue that has been held in abeyance since the 1980s.
More than 20 000 civilians from Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces were killed in cold blood by the Fifth Brigade during the 1980s genocide.
Mnangagwa, who is expected to meet traditional leaders, will be accompanied by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Local Government minister July Moyo.
Ziyambi confirmed the meeting to the State media on Wednesday. Mnangagwa last met Bulawayo chiefs in October last year where he held a series of meetings with them and promised to resolve the Gukurahundi issue.
The late former President Robert Mugabe described the massacres as “a moment of madness”.
Mnangagwa has failed to acknowledge wrongdoing by the government, although he has initiated discussions around the issue.
Human rights activist Effie Ncube said: “This is an attempt by the President to find a way out of Gukurahundi genocide accusations. He must not lead the process because he was part of the government that committed the genocide. The people of Matabeleland and Midlands are very clear. They want an independent process led by the international community and the process must be based on the search for truth and justice.”
Ncube said it boggled the mind that Mnangagwa appointed the Motlanthe Commission in 2019 to look into the issue of the death of six people in the July 2018 post-electoral violence, but since independence government has failed to appoint a commission to look into the genocide where more than 20 000 people were killed.
Matabeleland Forum member Dumisani Nkomo said: “The demands have always been clear that we want a legally-defined, victim-centred truth-telling process, an independent body to facilitate the process and compensatory development for affected regions, memorialisation through plaques and Gukurahundi museums, and structural political and economic reforms such as comprehensive devolution of power.”
He said denial of Gukurahundi must be criminalised.
Ibhetshu Likazulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo said: “All that we can say is that victims must know that the man (Mnangagwa) is not sincere in dealing with the issue. The President’s hands are dripping with blood. It’s not clear whether he is meeting the chiefs as a perpetrator or the head of State. He is buying time and abusing innocent chiefs by giving them false hope.”
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