THERE is outrage in Bulawayo after police banned pressure group, Ibhetshu LikaZulu from hosting a Gukurahundi memorial on Unity Day and arrested three of its members.
The group organised a memorial for the Gukurahundi victims at Stanley Square, but the police banned the event, and a proposed march.
But the activists continued with the memorial at Joshua Nkomo’s statue in the city centre, and three activists including its vice-chairperson Thamsanqa Ncube, Samukeliso Tshuma and Melusi Nyathi were arrested.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director Blessing Vava travelled from Harare to Bulawayo for the memorial.
He described the arrest of the activists as a human rights violation.
"I travelled all the way from Harare for this event. Gukurahundi must be understood not as a Matabeleland or regional issue, but as a national one. We came here as citizens to say that there are issues that are not solved, and yet we talk of unity. What does it mean for the people of Zimbabwe, what does it mean for future generations," Vava said.
He decried the use of State machinery to muzzle dissenting voices, especially people that want the Gukurahundi issue to be resolved.
“As citizens we need to talk about these issues without fear. We need to force government to the negotiating table over the Gukurahundi issue which is affecting Zimbabweans,” Vava said.
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He said during the elections next year no blood should be shed.
Zimbabwe National Students Union president Benon Ncube said young people needed to be given the correct information about Gukurahundi.
“Since the 1980s, emotive issues like Gukurahundi have not been resolved and government continues to arrest people over holding memorial services for Gukurahundi victims. Victims are not allowed to say their side of the story. The same security forces that massacred them are sent to arrest them and it is a sign of a crisis in the country,” Ncube said.
Zapu secretary for publicity in Bulawayo Vivian Siziba said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s approach to the Gukurahundi issue was just a publicity stunt.
“Whatever he says about Gukurahundi is just a smokescreen. Memorial plaques in Bhalagwe have been vandalised on three occasions, a sign that he is not sincere,” Siziba said.
Meanwhile, Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo yesterday said Tsholotsho and Silobela villagers successfully held a Gukurahundi memorial on Thursday.
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