Human rights activists have urged the government to uphold international laws pertaining to the right to truth in order to sincerely deal with the post-independence Gukurahundi atrocities which affected people in Matabeleland and Midlands areas.
This came out during the commemoration of the International Day of Peace hosted by Ibhetshu LikaZulu, Tuesday.
The commemorations were held under the theme: “No peace without justice and truth-telling” and were attended by leaders of various civil society organisations.
Addressing the participants, human rights activist Effie Ncube, said to effectively address the Gukurahundi issue, the perpetrators (State) should address the matter with truth and be ready to serve justice for the victims of the mass killings.
He said the government has to acknowledge that it owes victims of the atrocities details and circumstances surrounding the massacres.
“The perpetrators seem to forget that their relatives were raped and murdered by people who were on the government payroll. After inflicting such violence on victims they would still get paid. Now they want to come to the same victims and seek the truth about what happened! They should be the ones telling us not the other way round,” Ncube said.
Ncube said the fact that they decided to term the incident as ‘disturbances’ shows no remorse and shows the State is not genuine in addressing this issue.
Khumbulani Maphosa said CSOs, victims and the general public need to strategise and find ways to effectively demand justice for the departed souls.
“We must advocate for the erection of plaques at shrines and we should emphasise that these plaques be safeguarded. For as long as they stay erected it would be evidence that the atrocities happened. Them stealing the plaques is a way of trying to destroy evidence,” Maphosa said.
One participant noted that the perpetrators are pretending to be bringing solutions yet in actual fact they are doing nothing to solve the situation.
He said people are now divided over the issue because some are pushing for the truth while others push for silence.
Another participant said the issue of Gukurahundi will not be solved until the perpetrators acknowledge their shortcomings and apologise to the people.
“The fact that people are still not allowed to freely discuss Gukurahundi is a continuation of the violence to the people of Matabeleland and Midlands. We are constantly told that people can discuss but when we convene we are harassed by state security agents,” said the participant.
Meanwhile, Secretary-General for Ibhetshu LikaZulu, Mbuso Fuzwayo was briefly detained by the police who claimed that the meeting was illegal.
About ten uniformed police officers arrived at the venue a few minutes after the event started and had lengthy deliberations with Fuzwayo before they asked him to accompany them to Central Police Station.