Gukurahundi survivors want closure

The event coincided with the International Day of the victims of enforced disappearances.

A former PF Zapu official, Felix Ndebele, was in tears last week as he narrated how he almost lost his life under the colonial regime and during Gukurahundi in the 1980s.

Ndebele, from Silobela, was narrating his experiences during an event held in Bulawayo on Wednesday to remember victims of abductions and enforced disappearances.

The event coincided with the International Day of the victims of enforced disappearances.

Bulawayo pressure group, Ibhetshu likaZulu, organised the event.

Ndebele said he has never enjoyed any peace in Zimbabwe before and after independence in 1980.

"I was a PF Zapu chairman in the area and I was responsible for distributing clothing material to the Zipra fighters,” Ndebele said.

“People would buy them but whatever they bought it was me who knew where to take it to the fighters

"This placed me and my family in danger. I was later arrested after I was sold out.

“I was accused of assisting terrorists.”

Ndebele said he was charged and sentenced to death.

“I was one of the persons who were sentenced to death but one would not be taken to court because there was no clear evidence,” he said.

“You were taken to solitary confinement for 30 to 40 days and from there you were then killed.

“There were three of us sentenced to death.”

He added: “One Choga was taken from the confinement and we thought that he had been released, but we later learnt that he was executed.

“My other colleague was also taken away and killed."

Ndebele said he remained alone and spent 41 days in solitary confinement only to be released when there was a ceasefire. Ndebele was hospitalised for two weeks after his release from prison.

However, he said his woes continued after he left the hospital.

According to Ndebele, at the time, the Fifth Brigade was causing terror in his village, killing people on accusations of being dissidents.

The late then Prime minister Robert Mugabe had deployed the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland and Midlands to target suspected dissidents.

At least 20 000 people, mostly Zapu followers, were killed during the  massacres.

Mugabe never apologised for the killings until he passed away.

President elect, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who  has been cited as one of the key architects of Gukurahundi as he was State Security minister at the time, has opened public debate on the matter.

Mnangagwa has appointed chiefs to lead the process of addressing Gukurahundi.

Ndebele, who lost his father and brother among other relatives during Gukurahundi, said he is yet to find closure.

"My neighbour came to my place (after hospital) that night and advised me that they (Fifth Brigade) wanted to kill me,” Ndebele said.

"I left Bulawayo that very same night.

“They killed my father. My brother remained.

“They also took ten people from my village including my brother and we never saw his bones to date.

“When we talk about this issue, someone said the Chiefs are going to talk about this issue.

“Personally, I do not see the reason why Chiefs should talk about this. They do not know the pain we have gone through.”

Ndebele said he needed closure.

“People of Silobela who were abducted were not politicians, but they were innocent souls,” he said

"For Gukurahundi to be resolved, they must call the affected persons and the victims.

“The chiefs cannot be objective against their master.

“We want to know what government

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