‘Compromised NPRC cannot resolve Gukurahundi’

The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) cannot resolve the more than three-decades-long issue of Gukurahundi because it is compromised, ZimRights director, Dzikamai Bere, has said.

About 20 000 Zimbabweans were killed in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the 1980s as former president Robert Mugabe’s government unleashed violence on ZAPU supporters, in what has become known as Gukurahundi.

The atrocities were ended in 1987 when Mugabe signed the Unity Accord with then ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo.

However more than 30 years since the end of Gukurahundi, victims have not been compensated while perpetrators have not been brought to book.

The NPRC has also not done much to bring closure to the Gukurahundi massacres.

Speaking during an online discussion organised by Ibhetshu LikaZulu, a pressure group, running under the topic: Enhancing citizen participation in the search for truth and justice on the Gukurahundi genocide, Bere said nothing much should be expected from the NPRC.

“The NPRC, despite its sincerity, can never resolve Gukurahundi because the commission is compromised,” said Bere.

“There has been discussion about the commission holding hearings on Gukurahundi and things like that. We all know those things did not take place and they will not take place and if they take place, they won’t be of any substance.”

Bere said the state has never been sincere about Gukurahundi.

“If the state was not sincere in its promises to the Matabeleland Collective, why should we expect it to be sincere with the NPRC. The NPRC approach to Gukurahundi will not work.”

He said all the attempts by the commission to address Gukurahundi have flopped.

“We have had an attempt by the NPRC, but with all due respect, the NPRC’ approach to Gukurahundi atrocities has no real prospect of seeing accountability. The commission with all due respect is incapacitated.”

Failure to hold to account Gukurahundi perpetrators, Bere said had become a serious cause for concern among Zimbabweans.

“It is not because the truth is unknown but perhaps there is the feeling that the truth is insufficient to act,” he said.

“The point I am making is that we have sufficient truth to take action. The Breaking the Silence Report gave us some truth. We know that there is Mafela Trust archives, there is documentary evidence that has been put by CITE and there are many testimonies that have been collected over time but there hasn’t been sufficient motive or courage to take action on this available truth.”

He said it was high time action was taken against Gukurahundi perpetrators.

“There is not any issue in this country that is more widely researched than Gukurahundi but in all this research that pushes for justice it remains much ado about nothing,” he decried.

“There has not been official acknowledgement of Gukurahundi besides Mugabe saying “madness” and things like that but there has not been acknowledgement. When we speak about acknowledgement for Gukurahundi, we need to look at it in a broad term not merely as a business of the state to make acknowledgement.”

He added that it was important that all citizens of Zimbabwe and the international community acknowledged Gukurahundi as well.

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