By Leopold Munhende
OPPOSITION Zapu has dismissed the planned visit by the country’s peace commission to Gukurahundi sites in Matebeleland as an attempt by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to hoodwink the world into the false belief he was ready to atone for his transgressions.
The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) will soon visit Gukurahundi mass graves and Bhalagwe Concentration Camp where innocent civilians were thrown into an abandoned mine shaft at the height of the killings in the early 1980s.
An estimated 20 000 civilians died in the hands of the infamous Fifth Brigade, an army crack unit that was deployed in Matebeleland and Midlands regions by then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe to track down armed army insurgents viewed loyal to then PF Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa questioned the role the NPRC was playing in the Matabeleland as there had not been any acknowledgement by the state of the 1983-1987 genocide.
“For starters, we are convinced that the whole exercise is a smokescreen meant to pacify the International community by Mnangagwa who wants to portray willingness and efforts to solve the genocide in which he is heavily complicit yet there is nothing happening.
“Our big question is what are we being healed from when there is no acknowledgement and admitting that we were wounded? What are we reconciling from without admitting to that which has polarised us?
“Whatever the commission is doing is just a waste of resources while they also work at silencing the victim as we witnessed in Lupane, where there was heavy presence of anti-riot police and army details.
“To completely silence the victim, the commission distributed literature against what they called tribalism despite the fact that the military operation that initially targeted to exterminate Zapu turned ethnic and in result targeted and killed people of Ndebele extraction in Midlands and Matabeleland.”
The NPRC has been to Lupane and Gwanda in its outreach meant for victims and witnesses of the Gukurahundi era.
Maphosa called on the NPRC to halt its outreach as it did not have the capacity to carry out an investigation of a genocidal nature.
He questioned reasons why the commission saw nothing wrong with the vandalism of a plaque at one of the mass graves in Matabeleland South if it really sought reconciliation and not to destroy the remaining evidence.
Added Maphosa; “Any process of resolution that is led by Mnangagwa or by his appointees is fake…the genocide was a military operation under command of Perrance Shiri and Constantino Chiwenga to eliminate a political opinion and create a one-party state in Zimbabwe.”
President Mnangagwa, who was security Minister during the massacres, has cleared open debate on Gukurahundi, a hitherto taboo subject in Zimbabwe.
He has also allowed the reburial of some of the victims of the country’s worst post-independence holocaust.