Activists mourn Gukurahundi victims


CIVIC groups and political parties yesterday mourned Gukurahundi victims at a time when the nation was commemorating Unity Day, which came into being after Zanu PF and PF Zapu signed the Unity Accord in 1987.

Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo yesterday said they had organised a memorial for Gukurahundi victims at Stanley Square, but the police turned down their application.

“We notified the police but the letter that they gave us does not allow or deny us to conduct the memorial. We intended to continue with the event starting with a march from Joshua Nkomo’s statue to the venue, but there was heavy police presence. Police blocked us, dispersed everyone around the statue and arrested our vice-chairperson Thamsanqa Ncube,” Fuzwayo said.

A letter dated December 21, 2022 signed by one Chief Superintendent V Nkomo at Bulawayo Central states said Ibhetshu LikaZulu’s notification to the police fell short of mandatory requirements prescribed by section 7 of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act [Chapter 11:23].

“We acknowledge receipt of your notification dated December 19 which you submitted on December 20. Your notification still does not comply with the requirements of Mopa, be guided accordingly,” wrote Nkomo.

Fuzwayo lamented the manner in which the Gukurahundi issue is being dealt with, saying the perpetrator (government) was prescribing the programme.

“The day when there would be sincerity, there will be a narrative for the victim and the perpetrator.  At the end the victim's narrative will be allowed to stand. As of now the perpetrator wants to prescribe how the victim can heal without the victim’s involvement in the initiative,” Fuzwayo said.

Ibhetshu LikaZulu members Samukeliso Tshuma and Melusi Nyathi were also arrested yesterday.

In a statement, opposition United Zimbabwe Alliance (Uza) said their party would commemorate Unity Day by mourning Gukurahundi victims.

“The peace accord was signed following the massacre of over 20 000 people in Matabeleland during Gukurahundi. On this important day on our Zimbabwean calendar, we remember and mourn Gukurahundi victims acknowledging that such atrocities have no place in our society going forward. Our party appreciates the two leaders, Mugabe and Nkomo for signing an agreement that ended the conflict in our country. We salute them for burying the hatchet and shelving their differences in order to ensure that peace prevails.”

Uza said peace should be promoted during commemorations of the day.

In his Unity Day statement, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the Unity Accord was home-grown, with two liberation movements Zanu and Zapu putting aside their differences for the greater national good.

“Let us always remain mindful that we are a unitary State, with many languages, tribes and cultures, united under one national flag and national anthem. There is no room for division, hatred or conflict,“ Mnangagwa said.

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