BY SILAS NKALA
Matabeleland activists have criticised President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s claims that the opposition and civil society groups are using the unresolved Gukurandi issue to stir emotions.
Mnangagwa made the claims in a speech read on his behalf by Zanu PF second secretary Kembo Mohadi at a rally at Tshefunye in Tsholotsho a week ago.
The activists said the Zanu PF leader had no right to dictate to victims on how the atrocities should be handled given that he is one of the people accused of masterminding the killings.
Ibhetshu Likazulu secretary general Mbuso Fuzwayo said the remarks were insensitive given Mnangagwa’s role in the army killings in Matabeleland and Midlands in the 1980s.
“It’s nonsense, no one is stirring emotions on the genocide serve for a man who led the killings without consulting anyone and now he wants to prescribe how victims should mourn, remember the killings and how to get closure,”Fuzwayo said.
“Firstly he must know his role before prescribing how victims should mourn.
“He must first acknowledge the government killed innocent people. Then we talk of steps to heal the victims.
“The exercise must be victim friendly and not meant to massage the ego of the perpetrator.
“He is not doing anyone any favour nor opening any space, who has closed the space?”
Nkosilathi Ncube, a South Africa based Zimbabwean educationist, said Mnangagwa’s statement was offensive.
“We cannot just have someone tell us to forgive him, we must forgive him when he has asked for forgiveness,” Ncube said.
“It is an insult to say civil society organisation and political parties are stirring emotions, because this issue has not been addressed, people will continue to talk about it and once it is resolved the talk will end.”
Effie Ncube, a Bulawayo-based human rights activist, said Mnangagwa was being irresponsible and insensitive to the feelings of the victims of the genocide.
“Instead of focusing on the resolutions of the atrocities, he is trying to play games pretending to be for the solution when he is not,” Ncube said.
Mnangagwa was State Security minister during the killings that targeted PF Zapu followers and leaders.
He has refused to apologise for the atrocities and says a process led by traditional leaders would be used to atone for the killings.
Human rights groups say up to 20 000 people were massacred by the North Korea trained Five Brigade.