By Staff Reporter
IBHETSHU LikaZulu Secretary General, Mbuso Fuzwayo has blasted chiefs from the Midlands province for neglecting their people in fighting for Gukurahundi redress.
In an interview Fuzwayo said people in Midlands have not been given an opportunity to speak about Gukurahundi issues though they have been equally affected by the atrocities as people in Matabeleland.
Recently, when President Emmerson Mnangagwa met Matabeleland chiefs to discuss the Gukurahundi issue, chiefs from Midlands were conspicuous by their absence.
“The Chiefs in Midlands have chosen not to fight for their people. They have chosen to take orders from Local Government minister July Moyo and Mnangagwa to create a fake unity as if Gukurahundi happened only in Matebeleland North and Matebeleland South. People from Midlands must know that their traditional leadership is not fighting for them. They must know that they are on their own,” Fuzwayo said.
”Chiefs from Midlands show you that there is no seriousness in addressing the matter. Because if the matter is to be addressed adequately you will no leave anyone behind. Currently everyone from Midlands is excluded on the issue. This is a sign that there is no redress on the matter from that side. It shows that in Midlands there is no-one who is willing to address the matter. We have to push hard so that people from Midlands will have a platform to express themselves on the genocide era,” he said.
He added that since President Emmerson assumed office in 2017 and encouraged the Gukurahundi victims to open up, people from Midlands who have been equally affected were not given an opportunity to open up.
“Looking at the present political development after Mnangagwa assumed power and met chiefs from Matabeleland and Midlands, people from Midlands have never had an opportunity to discuss their issues so we felt we had to give people of Midlands especially Silobela an opportunity to talk about their issues,” he said.
“In Tsolotsho, we were specifically focusing on women in Silobela we specifically focused on forced disappearances. That’s why we went to Silobela because if the government is kidnapping people that it is supposed to protect then that’s a problem. These victims must be given space. When Mnangagwa came to Bulawayo in 2019 to meet the chiefs, chiefs from Midlands, the affected areas were not allowed to speak. Mnangagwa’s argument was Midlands was united. Midlands, has however, never been given an opportunity to speak about their experiences to say what they want, so victims in Midlands don’t have space, so we are saying victims from Midlands must be given an opportunity to speak. Midlands is affected like Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South,” he said.
Fuzwayo further explained that the theft of plaques is happening “because people who were involved in the massacres are still in government and are trying to erase the memories”.
Fuzwayo has said his group is going to continue to erect Gukurahundi plaques in areas such as Silobela and Bulawayo following the theft of similar artefacts.
“The truth of the matter is that we erected a plaque in Silobela in Midlands. This is an area where we have nothing or little has been done around issues of memorialisation, issues of truth telling amongst other issues,” Fuzwayo said.
“We are going to replace all the plaques that were stolen and erect additional plaques in areas that need additional plaques as memorials or a tool of memorialization which we are going to replace the plaque in Silobela very soon,” he said.
The activist said plaques are important in that they memorialise what happened during Gukurahundi.
“If you are to erect a plaque and if they don’t remove it, it will be a permanent thing. Its memory transfer from one generation to another who did not witness it. Those who have never heard the stories, if they are to see the plaques and they start reading about the plaques they start to know what happened.
“Its clear those who are removing the plaques want to rewrite the history, who don’t want to acknowledge that genocide happened as an organisation we are not going backwards. We are going to continue erecting plaques,” he said.