Gukurahundi issue stirs emotions

THE unresolved Gukurahundi atrocities issue stirred emotions here this week as it took centre stage at the proposed National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Bill public hearing.

The hearing conducted by the portfolio committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Senate thematic committees on Human Rights Peace and Security heard most residents indicating that there cannot be any meaningful reconciliation if the issue of Gukurahundi was not included.

The Bill bounced back for crafting after it was last year adjudged to be unconstitutional and removed from Parliament’s Order Paper following an adverse report produced by the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC).
Former Magwegwe legislator Felix Mafa said there was no difference between the previous rejected bill and the latest one.

“This new proposed Bill is just the same as the old one, nothing has changed it’s just a question of semantics, vocabulary among other few changes,” Mafa said.

“The Bill is not addressing the issue of Gukurahundi. Why are perpetrators let loose in Zimbabwe? We need rehabilitation of victims.

“The commission should be truly independent, hence, the idea of having a minister in charge should be excluded. My suggestion is that the Bill has to be rejected until it has been improved,” he said.
An emotionally-charged resident, Patricia Tshabalala, expressed her disappointment.

“When we heard that you are coming we thought that one of the topical issues will be that of Gukurahundi.
“Now that it’s not included in this proposal why are you here? she asked.

“How can you talk about peace and reconciliation without mentioning the issue of Gukurahundi?”
A young lady who only identified herself as Esther said she was concerned about the secrecy surrounding the Gukurahundi subject.

“We want to know the truth about Gukurahundi, why does it have to appear like it’s a preserve for adults only?
“The government should also let the artists speak freely about Gukurahundi either through plays or music because that’s how we learn we need to know the truth.”

“We cannot talk about healing and reconciliation when we don’t know the truth about Gukurahundi.
“This is the reason why some groups are now talking of cessation because the truth is not being told.
“I did history at school but we did not cover anything to do with Gukurahundi,” Takunda Madzama said.
Other residents also highlighted that it was unfortunate that the Bill was perpetrator-friendly and victim hostile.

Largely, the residents also highlighted a number of technicalities against the Bill casting aspersions on its future. —Jeffrey Muvundusi in BULAWAYO