By Leopold Munhende
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of attempting to destroy evidence of the Gukurahundi massacres through secret reburials of the victims’ remains without consulting those most affected or having direct interest in the genocide.
An estimated 20 000 mainly Ndebele speaking citizens were killed by the army in State-sponsored massacres in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the early years of independence.
The widely condemned military operation was launched under then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe-led government’s ostensible bid to track down some few armed deserters from the army while civilians were targeted for allegedly harbouring the dissidents.
Speaking at the launch of his party’s 20 Principle for Reliable Inclusive and Credible Elections in Zimbabwe (PRICE) in Harare Thursday, Chamisa questioned why the government was speeding up processes around reburial of victims instead of promoting national healing first.
“I see now in Matabeleland they want to go there and destroy evidence of their past omissions and commissions by saying ‘we want to have urgent reburials’,” said Chamisa.
“Why are you fast tracking what you have delayed over the years? Let us take our time to heal the wounds and then heal from the bottom going up. Do not impose solutions.”
Chamisa said it was improper for Mnangagwa to impose solutions on those most affected by the killings.
“Parachuted solutions are not solutions; they are actually a basis of fresh wounds. I hope that they will understand it,” said the opposition leader.
“We cannot go into Matabeleland, try to rush processes. We need a bottom-up approach, we need truth telling, accountability, restorative justice, rehabilitative justice so that we are able to move forward as a country.”
Chamisa said Zimbabwe was in need of national healing before the reburial of Gukurahundi victims.
“We have always made the point that, yes we have a country, but we do not have a nation. A nation is about institutions, ideas, a republic, programmes that is what a nation is. It is not about subjects, we are just a country. We need to build a nation through national healing,” he told party members gathered for the launch.
Mnangagwa was State Security Minister at the time of the killings.