Zimbabwe: Civic Group Remembers Gukurahundi Abductees

A Matabeleland-based pressure group, Ibhetshu likaZulu, will on Sunday commemorate the abduction of 16 Silobela villagers who disappeared at the height of Gukurahundi massacres on January 31, 1985.

Some estimates say over 20 000 people were killed by North Korean trained Fifth Brigade during the 1982-87 killings.

Thousands were displaced including the 16 villagers in Silobela who disappeared.

Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary general Mbuso Fuzwayo said there would be commemorations of abducted "patriots" over the weekend.

"Our hearts are filled with pain and sadness as we remember Clement Baleni, Enoch Tshuma, Simon Siginya, Bhozo Dube, Dennis Mabhikwa, Mbulani Mnkandla, Lampard Ncube, Milton Ndlangamandla, Velile Hlongwane, Mika Cephas Ndebele, Patrick Mthethwa and local teachers," he said.

"The innocent sons of our motherland were mercilessly taken away; never to be seen. It's sad that up to this day, the Gukurahundi question remains unresolved. There is no commitment by the perpetrator to bring the issue to finality. The nation is being taken for a ride through a half-hearted approach by the regime. They even want to make Gukurahundi a Matabeleland issue, and snub Midlands.

"We reiterate that the Zimbabwean genocide matter will not be resolved unless everyone who was affected is included."

Fuzwayo said the divisive approach shows that those who perpetrated the crimes were not willing to unify the nation.

"President Emmerson Mnangagwa who played a prominent role in the execution of Gukurahundi is on record saying that the chiefs from Midlands cannot be part of the healing process as the people from that province are united. This approach is dangerous especially coming from the leader of the government that killed thousands of innocent civilians," he said.

"We hope that God's wisdom will reign amongst the chiefs. They must resist this divisive and unpatriotic move. As Ibhetshu LikaZulu, we believe that that peace and reconciliation is possible if based on truth telling and justice."

Mnangagwa has had several meetings with the Matabeleland Collective -- a group of civic organisations and the traditional leaders to discuss the emotive issue. At the last meeting, Mnangagwa surrendered the responsibility of addressing the Gukurahundi issue to the chiefs from Matabeleland.

The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) last year promised to consult how the Gukurahundi issue can be addressed. The programme was suspended due to Covid-19 lockdown.

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