Chamisa: Gukurahundi infringed on rights, stalled development in Matabeleland

Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa, says the Gukurahundi massacres did not only infringe on the rights of the people of Matabeleland region but also stalled development.

Chamisa was addressing his party members at White City stadium in Bulawayo, Sunday.

He said as a government in waiting, they are ready to develop the region and address the issue of Gukurahundi in terms of serving justice and facilitating the healing process.

“For Matabeleland region, Gukurahundi was not just an act of an attack on the rights of the people, but it was also accompanied by underdevelopment. I have been to Nkayi and Tsholotsho and the single strip roads that were constructed during the Rhodesian regime are the ones still there. There has been no development, particularly in Matabeleland. You need a leader who will bring change. I will remember Matabeleland. It has been forsaken, forgotten and neglected. I will move the region forward. If Smith were to resurrect today, he would not get lost in Tsholotsho or in Bulawayo because there has not been any development,” he said.

Chamisa said his government will ensure that memorialisation of places like Bhalagwe is prioritised.

“We intend to first go to places like Bhalagwe where there was Gukurahundi and turn them into memorial museums so that we acknowledge this history and say thus far but no further. We do not want to impose the process of healing, it has to be a bottom-up process. We want the process to be led by traditional leaders.”

Bhalagwe is the Gukurahundi flash point where thousands were reportedly thrown into the disused Antelope Mine at the height of the massacres.

Ibhetshu LikaZulu, a Bulawayo-based pressure group has been erecting memorial plaques at the sites of Gukurahundi mass graves in honour of Gukurahundi victims but they have been destroyed by unknown perpetrators.

Turning to the elections, Chamisa said he was confident of winning in Bulawayo, noting that the party has never lost in Bulawayo in previous polls.

He alleged that, unlike Zanu-PF, their party does not bus people to rallies because that would create a false impression that they have support from areas where they have none.

“I want to thank the people of Bulawayo. We have never lost an election here and we never will. I know Mnangagwa had a rally in Cowdray Park, but I am certain that we will win that Constituency. I am told that they addressed people from the whole country. They had buses but did not have a crowd from there. We don’t do that as CCC. We don’t cheat ourselves that we have support but it is clear that you support change and you are ready for change,” Chamisa said.

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