Judge Reserves Ruling On Gukurahundi Exhumation Challenge

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

A BULAWAYO High Court judge has reserved judgment in a case involving a Gukurahundi survivor, Charles Thomas, Zapu and Ibhetshu Likazulu who are jointly seeking an interdict to bar government from exhuming victims of the state-sponsored massacres.

Two weeks ago, the litigants filed an urgent application at the High Court citing President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe, Jenni Williams and Matabeleland Collective as respondents.

The litigants also cited as respondents, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) chairperson Sello Nare and the NPRC.

During the hearing, Mnangagwa and Kazembe’s lawyer Rejoice Hove from the Attorney General’s office argued the court should not grant the interdict as the government never announced that it was planning to conduct Gukurahundi victims’ reburials.

Hove said Thomas and the other litigants should have waited for government to embark on the said reburials.

But the applicants’ lawyer, Nqobani Sithole said the government plan to exhume and rebury the Gukurahundi victims were true as this was publicised in government-owned press.

Sithole said Gukurahundi was an emotive issue, which should be handled carefully using all channels provided for under the national constitution.

He added the exhumation of Gukurahundi victims without consulting various stakeholders was a violation of the Constitution particularly the Inquest Act.

However, the presiding judge in the matter, Justice Martin Makonese asked Sithole if his clients had made efforts to engage the NPRC over the issue before rushing to court.

The lawyer told the court that his clients hastily approached the High Court because they were convinced the government was going ahead with the reburials without consulting anyone.

However, Justice Makonese reserved judgment in the matter.