MARONDERA: Gukurahundi genocide can only be resolved if the Ndebele people first pay lobola and compensate Shonas for abducting and forcing into marriage young girls and raiding cattle from the same in the 19th century, a Zanu PF MP has said.
Marondera Central MP, Lawrence Katsiru, said this Wednesday while making his contributions during a highly charged National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Bill parliamentary public meeting at Mbuya Nehanda Hall in the Mashonland East capital.
“I agree with the Bill for various reasons. Our sisters and cattle were taken in Mashonaland by the Ndebeles,” said Katsiru before he was booed down by other participants.
He added, “They (Ndebeles) should pay lobola for kidnapping and forcing our sisters into marriage. They should compensate for the cattle they stole from Mashonaland. I was in Bulawayo during the Entumbane uprisings in early 1970s (the distabances actually took place in the early 1980s) and I saw Shonas being murdered in the streets because they could not speak Ndebele. These people should be compensated; then we should consider paying for Gukurahundi.”
“Historians know how much was looted during that period. Compensation should start from the beginning. The era of Mbuya Nehanda not 1980 and onwards," Katsiru told a mostly stunned audience.
Katsiru, an apostolic sect leader, once served nine years in jail for allegedly raping a juvenile.
In what seemed to be a well-choreographed event, Katsiru's claims were also supported by suspected Zanu PF functionaries with one Mai Hove demanding that the UK should return steel and other resources shipped from Zimbabwe during the colonial period.
She said the material was used to construct roads and bridges which should be stripped and the steel returned back to Zimbabwe.
However, most of the discussants were angry that the Bill had been brought back for another public hearing with the Executive still having more powers in the affairs of the NPRC.
"It is unfortunate if we say we want to start the work of the NPRC from the 1890s. Let us craft laws for the future not promote Stone-Age behaviour," Piniel Denga, the former MDC-T MP for Mbare said.
"What we want is for the commission to have arresting powers. The commission's work should cascade to the provinces, districts and wards as these are areas where the crimes were perpetrated," Denga said.
"Central Intelligence Organisation operatives should not be involved in the operations of the NPRC as they are the main perpetrators," said Golden Mutize of Murewa.
The NPRC bill has been brought back for public hearings after it was rejected by the same public in 2015 as they raised complaints over how it gave the Executive much oversight role over the operations of the commission.
Gokwe South MP, Mayor Justice Wadyajena, was the acting chairperson of the justice and legal affairs parliamentary committee that was conducting the public hearings.
Last month, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice was forced to abort its public hearings in Marondera after activists allegedly turned rowdy, accusing the panellists of being biased in favour of Zanu PF.