PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime has come under fire for allegedly refusing to surrender former state leader Robert Mugabe’s old culture of muzzling any talk around the Gukurahundi atrocities.
This comes after Bulawayo based journalist Zenzele Ndebele was on Monday summoned by police to answer questions on a Gukurahundi documentary he is set to showcase at the end of this month.
The massacres, which saw the army preside over the killing of 20 000 civilians in Matebeleland and Midlands provinces early 1980s, were waged by the now defunct Mugabe regime with Mnangagwa’s name featuring prominently among the perpetrators.
Government has tried to muzzle any talk about the atrocities with artistic expression on the genocide being blocked or banned.
Ndebele, who has been outspoken on the issue, announced on social media that he had been summoned to the Bulawayo CID Law and Order division.
“Just got a call from CID Law and order Bulawayo asking me to come and see them at 3pm. The person who called said it’s in connection with the Gukurahundi documentary launch,” he tweeted early Monday morning.
After presenting himself to the police in the company of his lawyers, Ndebele later tweeted: “Am back. ZANU will never change. Launch is on September 29. Befuna bengafuni (whether they like it or not)!”
He later revealed that the police had requested to watch the documentary before the launch.
The documentary, titled “Gukurahundi Genocide 36 years later”, is set to premiere on September 29 at a city hotel.
The Zanu PF led government has often used the Censorship Board to ban artistic work critical of its rule.
Mbuso Fuzwayo, secretary general of pro-Matebeleland pressure group, Ibhetshu Likazulu said this was a sign government did not want people to know the truth.
“The summoning is a clear sign that Zimbabweans want peace, truth and reconciliation and those who are governing don’t want the nation to know the truth,” he said.
“On Zanu PF changing, unfortunately it will be over expecting. That is why their reference point is Mgagao where the first massacre happened.
“They are influenced by the past, not the future. The term ‘new dispensation’ is just being abused to hoodwink unsuspecting citizens.”
Mthwakazi Republic Party also echoed the same sentiments saying the truth around the atrocities could not continue to be kept secret.
“We are all victims of Gukurahundi and persecuting anyone on Gukurahundi is equal to persecuting all of us,” said Mbonisi Gumbo, the party`s spokesperson.
“Gukurahundi cannot be kept a secret forever. Victims are yearning for closure. There is no other time other than this one for us to demand access to information and justice.”
In March 2010, an art exhibition by visual artist Owen Maseko titled ‘Sibathontisele’ (Lets Drip on Them), a Gukurahundi inspired collection of paintings, briefly opened at the Bulawayo Art Gallery before state agents shut it down.
This resulted in a section of the gallery where the paintings were displayed being cordoned off for 5 years until a Supreme Court order was issued for him to pull down his exhibition.