Gukurahundi: Radicals disrupt another hearing

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LUPANE: Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) has said the contentious Gukurahundi issue will never be solved without involvement of the international community.

About a dozen MRP members disrupted a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission meeting in Lupane on Monday as they demanded that justice be done before any healing process could start.

Members of the secessionist group which is advocating for a revival of the Mthwakazi state toy toyied in the venue and chucked out of the meeting two commissioners Lilian Chigwedere and Geoffrey Chada for being Shona.

Commissioner Leslie Ncube was allowed to stay although the meeting eventually failed to take place.

Speaking during the commotion which lasted more than two hours, one of MRP members who is also a war veteran, Charles Thomas, said the Gukurahundi issue was like the Israeli war.

Thomas said he witnessed massacres in Bhalagwe, Matabeleland South and alleged that about 10 000 people were thrown into a mine by the North Korean trained 5th brigade which claimed it was fighting armed dissidents as they targeted civilians, who were mainly supporters of late vice-president Joshua Nkomo and his Zapu party.

“This issue is like Israel and requires intervention of the whole world. We want the International Criminal Court to handle this. How can we sit here and listen to people from Harare talk about Gukurahundi? I witnessed 10 000 people being thrown into a mine at Bhalagwe and some being forced to have sex with their mothers. How can we talk in the presence of the same perpetrators?” said Thomas.

He alleged that some mineral prospectors had poured acid into the mine where the remains of the victims are.

Thomas said government should first remove the acid.

Another MRP member Khawulani Ncube said there will be no justice if the process is handled locally.

“We don’t want people from Harare to come and tell us what to do; they can’t be the killers and the judges at the same time. They said we are dissidents and recently called Thokozani Khupe a dissident, so what do they want from dissidents?”

Ncube said former President Mugabe who once said Gukurahundi was a “moment of madness” and his successor President Mnangagwa should publicly apologise to Mthwakazi people.

The MRP members said for justice to prevail, whoever will be tasked to lead the process would first approach traditional leaders in Matabeleland before soliciting for people’s views.

The NPRC has been going around the country consulting citizens on the atrocities.

However, activists led by MRP disrupted meetings in Matabeleland South, Bulawayo and Lupane.

Human rights groups estimate that 20 000 people were killed in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the early 1980s.

MPP was formed in January 2014 with the sole objective of restoring the Mthwakazi state and fighting for devolution of power.