By Bulawayo Correspondent
POLITICAL parties and analysts have described President Emmerson Mnangagwa as a denialist who glosses over the Gukurahundi genocide that claimed an estimated 20,000 people.
Mnangagwa is scheduled to visit Bulawayo on Monday in his latest sojourn over the emotive issue but critics have described the trip as “a futile and grandstanding mission which will not achieve anything.”
According to a statement from the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mnangagwa will be in Bulawayo hosting a meeting aimed at finding solutions to the one of country’s darkest periods in history.
This is not the first time that the Zanu PF leader has been in the city on a similar mission.
He has held several Gukurahundi meetings at the local State House where he has invited various stakeholders, including Chiefs and civil society leaders.
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Mnangagwa’s impending visit has, however, torched a storm with political parties and analysts questioning his sincerity in addressing the mass killings of the 80s.
Political analyst, Effie Ncube said Mnangagwa and his government have no business in the resolution of Gukurahundi.
“What is required are not visits, but action that is credible, that meets international standards and norms of addressing atrocities, such as the Gukurahundi genocide.
“So the President can make as many trips as he can, but that is not going to change the situation on the ground,” said Ncube in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com.
Ncube said the thorny issue could only be resolved by an independent body.
Independent, credible process
“What people want is the resolution of the Gukurahundi genocide on the basis of truth and justice through an independent credible process.
“That process should not be under Mnangagwa’s control and other political institutions of the State. This is the only way to address the Gukurahundi challenge,” said Ncube.
Zapu spokesperson, Msongelwa Ndlovu echoed similar sentiments.
“Gukurahundi was a genocide presided over and led by Mnangagwa himself. It does not need rollouts, pomp and fanfare. We need an apology, reburials and social services for affected communities.
“Mnangagwa is coming to Bulawayo to perform one of his numerous meaningless public relations stunts only useful in polluting our streets with loud fancy cars,” said Ndlovu.
Renowned Gukurahundi activist, Mbuso Fuzwayo said the octogenarian’s visit will only succeed in reminding people of Matebeleland and the Midlands provinces about the atrocities.
“Mnangagwa is coming as usual to play with the emotions of the victims of the genocide and as usually to mislead the world as if he is sincere in addressing the emotive subject, which he is not,” noted Fuzwayo.
Mnangagwa part of the problem
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Bulawayo spokesperson, Swithern Chiroodza, accused Mnangagwa of being complicit in the killings.
Mnangagwa, who was then State Security minister during episode, is accused of fuelling the genocide by likening Matebeleland people to cockroaches and Fifth brigade to a highly poisonous pesticide, while addressing a rally in Nkayi and Lupane.
“The issue of the Gukurahundi genocide, which was carried out deliberately by Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF government which had Emmerson Mnangagwa as Minister of State Security, will not be solved by its perpetrators,” said Choroodza.
“The perpetrators of Gukurahundi can never ever constitute an impartial tribunal and, therefore, can never deliver anything that measures up to justice.
“Gukurahundi denialists will also not resolve the issue by forcibly involving our traditional chiefs who under Zimbabwean law have no power to preside over criminal matters,” said Chiroodza.
However, another political analyst, Methuseli Moyo was optimistic of Mnangagwa’s efforts.
“Hopefully this time we will see major progress towards resolving the Gukurahundi issue. Yes the programme has not moved as fast as one would have wished, but the apparent political will to attend to the matter must be commended,” said Moyo.