‘Bombing of Bhalagwe plaque meant to intimidate survivors’

The Freedom Alliance says the use of explosives to destroy the Gukurahundi memorial plaque at the Bhalagwe Concentration Camp in Maphisa, Matabeleland South, is meant to intimidate those pushing for justice.

The new party, which strongly condemned the recent bombings believes the state is involved in the act.  

Gukurahundi claimed over 20 000 people in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces, including rape, torture, forced disappearances and destroyed property worth hundreds of millions.

Erected on the same site where two other plaques were vandalised, the third memorial plaque was placed in October last year at Bhalagwe but was destroyed by unknown perpetrators on January 4.

“This gross act is a reminder that the perpetrators are prepared to do everything they can to prevent truth and justice. This gross act is a reminder the perpetrators are prepared to do justice while at the same time destroying all avenues to truth and justice,” said the party’s Media and Communications Desk in a statement.

“They speak in double tongues, promising to work for truth and justice while at the same time destroying all avenues to truth and justice. The use of explosives, which are weapons of war, is a serious escalation which must get an appropriate response. The bombing is an attempt to intimidate victims and survivors into silence and stop them from insisting on truth and justice through an independent process. This goal must be robustly thwarted.”

By destroying the memorial plaques, Freedom Alliance accused the regime of denying people in Matabeleland and Midlands the right to mourn and memorialise the victims.

“Memory transfer plays a central role in mobilising current and future generations against the repetition of the same. The Freedom Alliance won’t accept the perpetrator to succeed. Continuing in the same path would be the highest form of cowardice and weakness and gross betrayal of the dead and other victims,” said the party.

The destruction, noted Freedom Alliance, exposed the “obvious untrustworthiness and deception by the unrepentant perpetrator who indicates left but turns right.”

“The perpetrator whose hands are dripping with blood but claims innocence yet acknowledging that there was their “moment of madness” that resulted in the genocide. The perpetrators are always promising sincerity but are overtly doing the opposite. We know that they cannot solve a genocide they committed in the first place. They have no intention and they won’t,” claimed the party.

The opposition party said it rejected a perpetrator led processes, manufactured and controlled by the “deceitful genocide masterminds” who want to play saviour in the genocide they orchestrated.

“The only sustainable resolution of the Gukurahundi genocide must be a comprehensive victim-centred approach based on truth-telling and justice. We call upon the people of Matabeleland and Midlands and the entire world to reject this perpetrator driven approach and join us in demanding a victim initiated and controlled process that will allow them to freely express themselves and attain justice,” Freedom Alliance said.

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