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Activists lobby UN to probe Gukurahundi atrocities

Pressure groups and individuals have escalated their lobby to regional bodies over government`s perceived lackadaisical approach in dealing with the emotive Gukurahundi past, in the hope of getting the matter urgently addressed.

The latest move is by human rights group, the 1893 Mthwakazi Human Rights Restoration Movement (1893 MHRRM), which has vowed to take advantage of Gukurahundi memorial events to lobby the United Nations (UN) to institute a probe into the 1980’s massacres. 

On the other hand, a 31-year-old man from Gwanda, Matabeleland South says he is frustrated after Parliament threw out his petition where he was calling for a Bill to address unresolved Gukurahundi massacres.

This comes at a time when President Emmerson Mnangagwa acceded to demands by chiefs to play a leading role in addressing the highly contentious issue of exhumations and reburials of Gukurahundi victims.

However, in its approach, the human rights group said it was committed to put the massacres under international spotlight.

“We profoundly commit ourselves to use commemorative memorial days to campaign for the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to establish an independent and competent Matabeleland International Commission of Inquiry into the Matabeleland Gukurahundi Genocide for the purposes of establishing Truth and achieving Justice, Reparations and Healing for Matabeleland,” the 1893 MHRRM noted.

“We commit to the collective memorialisation of the genocide by the people of Matabeleland in public spaces of the region and in other parts of the world in honour of the dead and surviving victims of the genocide.”

In June 2019 the organisation held a Gukurahundi memorial event in Leicester, United Kingdom featuring personal testimonies from survivors living in that country and others. 

While Chiefs have been given the green light to lead the process, the pressure group reiterated calls for government to stop any exhumations and reburials without international forensic work by experts to avert the destruction of evidence.

“We commit to campaign against planned burial site exhumations of the victims of Matabeleland Gukurahundi genocide without an Independent assembled team of forensic anthropologists and archaeologists to investigate and gather evidence of this crime against humanity.”

Meanwhile, Ndaniso Mpande in a petition to the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda and parliamentarians dated September 1 argued there should be no further delay in addressing Gukurahundi.

However, Parliament threw out the petition with Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda stating that the “the petition was deemed inadmissible and the petitioner was notified accordingly.”

“It is frustrating to say the least, but I am not deterred to ensure the Gukurahundi issue and attendant marginalisation of Matabeleland is resolved,” Mpande said.

In the petition, Mpande called on Parliamentarians to also push through a Bill calling for a referendum for people to decide whether there should be any restoration of the Matabeleland pre-1893 colonial boundaries.

“The Bill be drafted in terms of Fifth Schedule (section 130 and 131) part 2 (1) of the Zimbabwe constitution Amendment Bill (No20) ACT2013 to give the people of Matabeleland region a chance ever to choose if they want self-determination and restore the 1893 boundary or to continue through a process of a referendum and the Bill be enacted into law in terms of Chapter (6) part 6 section 131 (8).”

The Mnangagwa’s administration has been under-fire for allegedly trying to fast-track the resolution of the Gukurahundi mass killings, through side-lining key stakeholders such as survivors of the massacres.

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