Matebeleland civil society condemn arrest of three Gukurahundi activists; say move against Mnangagwa’s utterances 

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By Bulawayo Correspondent 

MATEBELELAND Forum, a network of civic society organisations (CSOs) has condemned the arrest of three activists who gathered in Bulawayo to remember victims of Gukurahundi as part of Unity Day commemorations.

The three, Samkeliso Tshuma, Melusi Nyathi and Thamsanqa Ncube, were arrested at late Vice President Joshua Nkomo’s statue, a rallying point for residents.

Irate anti-riot police officers threatened to arrest journalists who had been invited by organisers Ibhetshu LikaZulu to cover the commemorations.

Matebeleland Forum spokesperson, Nkosikhona Dibiti, said the arrests were in contradiction with government’s promise to acknowledge and address the 80s massacre.

“We condemn the blatant and flagrant violation of freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate which are embedded in the constitution. The forum calls for the three to be immediately released and for citizens to be allowed to remember and commemorate the loss of their loved ones in whatever peaceful manner they want to engage in,” said Dibiti.

“Any process which purports to address Gukurahundi whilst muzzling the voices of civic groups and activists is not genuine and negates the principles of peace and reconciliation.”

Mnangagwa, a key player in the genocide which claimed 20 000 mainly Ndebele speaking people, has in the past promised to engage and solve the emotive matter once and for all.