Zimbabwe: Gukurahundi - Apology Alone Not Enough, Says Pressure Group

President Emmerson Mnangagwa delivers his State Of the Nation Address on March 17, 2020.
16 January 2022

A BULAWAYO based pressure group advocating for Gukurahundi reparation says has welcomed Matabeleland South Chiefs' demands on government to apologise publicly over the Gukurahundi atrocities but said mere apology will not bring any closure to the mass killings.

Speaking on behalf of Matabeleland South traditional leaders Friday, provincial Chiefs assembly chairperson Chief Masendu advised President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government to apologise for the atrocities.

"Government must agree and openly apologise to the people. No other person can come from outside whom people can understand and relate to their issues confidently besides the Chiefs," said Chief Masendu.

Ibhetshu Likazulu Coordinator Mbuso Fuzwayo said while his organisation applauds the traditional leaders for speaking their minds on the emotive issue, they still can pile more to pressure the government to amicably resolve the issue.

"It is good now that Chiefs are putting their demands to the government concerning the Gukurahundi issue, but l think an apology alone without truth telling, commission or anything that is not victim centred is not going to bring closure to the genocide. Apology before acknowledgement will certainly not work," Fuzwayo said.

The Ibhetshu Likazulu Coordinator also praised the Chiefs for condemning the recent destruction of Gukurahundi memorial plague at Bhalagwe in Maphisa in the province.

On January 4 this year, suspected state security agents used explosives to destroy the memorial plague which was erected by the pressure group and the local villagers in memory of thousands of people killed by the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade in the Midlands and Matebeleland provinces during the conflict. The defacement was the third in two years.

The defacement was the third.

"When Chiefs deplore such barbaric behaviour, it also gives confidence to the people that their leaders are with them. Mind you, people have sacrificed their scarce resources to mount the plague, but someone just decide to destroy all that with impunity. Again, we applaud the Chiefs for that but they should go further and demand the cessation of such wayward behaviour in future," said Fuzwayo.

Mnangagwa has opened dialogue on the subject but like his predecessor Robert Mugabe he has not offered any apology for the mass killings.

His attempts to redress the conflict has also been described as insincere and deceiving

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