4 July 2019

Zimbabwe: Zapu Demands Establishment of Gukurahundi Museum

Photo: New Zimbabwe
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Late national hero Dumiso Dabengwa's ZAPU party has called for the establishment of a national Gukurahundi Genocide museum that would serve to remind future generations of the country's genocide in which an estimated 20 000 civilians died in the hands of a North Korean trained Zimbabwean army unit in the early years of independence.

Speaking to journalists in Bulawayo on Tuesday, Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa said the proposed historical site should be "an educational deterrent against such reactionary and primitive tendencies".

"A Zimbabwe National Genocide Monument of Matebeleland must be constructed and maintained in perpetuity at national level to remind future generations of the evils of the genocide as an educational deterrent against such reactionary and primitive tendencies," said Maphosa.

He said the desired museum will be similar to the Hungarian House of Terror Museum.

The Budapest based House of Terror Museum was the former headquarters of the Nazi regime and then by the Soviet Union's Communist regime after the world 11. Both used the basement as a prison camp holding cell and torture bases.

The Zapu spokesperson said the museum will also attract both local and foreign tourists who want to learn more about the country's history.

"A lot of our history is distorted. Most of history has been doctored in order to portray the ruling Zanu PF in good light. All history to do with Zapu and its affiliate organisations like ZIPRA has been relegated to the periphery," said Maphosa.

He also implored the government to compensate all victims of the atrocities.

"The government must compensate the victims of genocide. This compensation must be at regional, community, family and individual levels.

"The government of Zimbabwe must also declare all persons who were caused to disappear through being killed or illegally executed by the Fifth Brigade and other coercive organs of the state during the genocide and issue civil documents to their families and descendants," said Maphosa.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week met traditional chiefs from Matebeleland and Midlands at State House in Bulawayo to discuss the emotive issue of Gukurahundi which affected the provinces.

During former President Robert Mugabe's rule, Gukurahundi was regarded a taboo subject.

But Mnangagwa, identified as one of the key architects of the holocaust during his time as the country's security minister, has allowed debate on the issue.

Mugabe banned any art work that depicted the atrocities with artists often arrested over any such displays.

It however remains to be seen if Mnangagwa's government will allow the establishment of a museum as has been suggested by Zapu, whose support base in Matebeleland provinces bore the brunt of the atrocities.

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