15 May 2017

Zimbabwe: Opposition MP Warns of Bloodbath If Gukurahundi Concerns Were Ignored

Outspoken Matebeleland South proportional representation MP, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga has warned of a bloodbath in the country if the Zanu PF led government continues to ignore the concerns of survivors of Gukurahundi and other past atrocities.

She further warned the fresh conflict will also be fuelled by alleged deprivation of national assets on some tribes in the country by the Zanu PF led government.

The MDC legislator was debating the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill in parliament this past week.

She insisted the draft law contained none of the major concerns raised by "angry" citizens who attended the outreach process by MPs who were gathering citizens' input into the envisaged law.

"In conclusion Madam Speaker, let me give you this warning," Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.

"We are going to have a huge uprising in this country and that uprising is going to come from the generality of the people who are not beneficiaries of the assets that people are using every other day.

"We will have people in the streets burning homes and burning everything else because the language of speaking will not have worked. We are going to have an uprising in the area around issues of ethnicity.

"We will pretend to talk about it right now but I can tell you as somebody who comes from that region that one day you will have a situation where people will stand up and they will say anyone who is not coming from here, we will hack to death and we will beat up.

"You will not have an excuse for it because they keep giving you warnings and warnings and you are refusing to deal with issues that they are raising."

Misihairabwi-Mushonga accused government bureaucrats of striking down citizens' input from the draft law.

"It is unfortunate that as a nation we have gotten to a point where issues of conflict, healing, issues that should be bringing us together, we do not care much about them, we are so used to just living life as life without necessarily understanding where people are coming from," she said.

Extremely dived nation

She said the public hearings showed "an extremely dived nation" adding that groups of citizens were adamant they still felt their issues were not resolved after suffering unfortunate experiences during all the country's conflict periods starting from the liberation war.

Said the legislator: "I think that is the unfortunate part about this particular Bill, whoever is drafting the Bill has just thought it is mechanical, business as usual without dealing with what exactly we want to address and you are not finding what exactly we want to address."

The former regional integration minister said the Bill should incorporate citizens' demands for transitional justice and stop window dressing issues.

"The unfortunate thing that has happened with this Bill is that the moment people (government) hear about National Peace and Reconciliation, the first thing that comes to their mind is Gukurahundi.

She added: "So, until you address the problems and issues that people are facing, you will not deal with this.

"To play around and pretend that you have a national peace and reconciliation when you are not dealing with the issues of transitional justice which are issues of who has gotten land, jobs and resources in this country, it is why you could clearly separate the issues that were being raised in Matebeleland and Mashonaland regions.

"...In reality, we cannot pretend that certain things are being said and we ignore them. If it is a general feeling that somebody thinks it is justified to continue to oppress and subject a particular tribe on the basis that you believe that there were cattle and women that were taken away - then let us deal with it," Misihairabwi-Mushonga said while referring to a Zanu PF MP who once said the current Ndebele generations had no moral authority to demand justice and compensation when their forefathers raided Shona territories to seize women and cattle.

"Unfortunately, this Bill does not deal with that," she said.

People still angry

"So, it is a useless Bill as far as we are concerned because that Bill is supposed to be talking about why when you go into Matebeleland you necessarily find people who are angry? They are angry because of certain things that are being done systematically.

"... We cannot have situations were amnesty is given; part of the problems that we have right now is, if we go to post-2000, there are people who murdered people during the general elections, arrested, convicted yet they were given an amnesty. Every other day, when you declare some of them heroes, people are upset. They are hurt because they know that these people have a particular history that they have had before.

"...Trust me, people may get away with it now in the current context but the generations that are going to be coming tomorrow and in the future - this thing will come back.

"The children of those who were murdered will also come back to murder because you are not going to be in power in perpetuity.

"There will be a time that you will be out of power and when you are out of power, that person who comes in and is in control is going to come back and deal with you."

The Gukurahundi atrocities saw the killing of an estimated 20,000 civilians in Matebeleland and Midlands provinces at the behest of then Prime Minister Mugabe's government.

The killings were done by a North Korean crack army unit which had been tasked to ostensibly track down armed army insurgents who were a source of national insecurity in affected regions.

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