The greatest curse in Matabeleland is victims of the Gukurahundi atrocities who continue to vote for Zanu PF despite its history of violence, said Bulawayo based political commentator and activist, Effie Ncube.
Ncube made the remarks during Gukurahundi commemorations, Tuesday, organised by a pressure group -Ibhetshu Lizakulu in Bulawayo.
December 22, is Unity Day, which marks the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987 between Zapu and Zanu, which brought to a halt the Gukurahundi massacres that started in 1982.
“Our pain is important and must be transferred into votes so when voting one should be mindful that Gukurahundi happened. Do not divorce your vote from the pain.”
Zanu PF has several parliamentary seats both in Matabeleland and Midlands.
Ncube said it was ironic that after voting for Zanu PF, people still complained about the socio-political situation in the country.
“If you were not voting in such a way then we wouldn’t have this problem. Our problem is we are not linking our vote to our pleas about Gukurahundi. You vote for the perpetrator, keep them in parliamentary seats then year after year we commemorate Gukurahundi yet there’s no better way of commemorating the victims and survivors than driving away the perpetrator. There’s no other way but if we are not transferring that pain to our vote then we are acting dishonestly,” Ncube said.
He added that another important factor to preserve Gukurahundi was ‘memory transfer’ to younger generations so they stay informed.
“The work of sharing Gukurahundi stories is important to us who saw, know and went through it. But how much of what we saw has been passed on to succeeding generations so that what we experienced doesn’t die?” asked the commentator.
“The enemy who perpetrated Gukurahundi wants the trail to be lost and for people to forget. The reason why they are not dealing with Gukurahundi is so the younger generation will not know. That’s why this event is crucial to transfer memory to younger generations.
“The young must know as much as I know since I was there. They must also feel what I felt if you don’t know or feel what I felt then it means I have failed in my responsibility. Once all of you know what happened, pass it to your peers, your children, grandchildren so that the memory is passed on until Gukurahundi is solved.”
Ncube said people have a duty to continue the struggle for human rights, democratisation and regarding Gukurahundi – victims and survivors must be at the centre.
“I won’t talk about unity the way the oppressor or perpetrator views it but I will talk about the unity of victims and survivors who must be united in seeking justice. We must work towards the unity of oppressed people because the biggest gift to give someone who died for your freedom is liberation,” he said.
“We must be at the centre of decision making, we must decide the way forward, not the government, the state, the perpetrator, nor the president of the country and not the NPRC. It must be us the victims and survivors who lost parents and families. Our interests must come first and be recognised in this process but throughout all these processes none of them is putting victims first.”
Ncube said people must reject processes where interests of the state were put first, adding that the challenge in Zimbabwe was lack of justice, human rights violations and lack of democracy.
“Unity is not a problem as people have always been oppressed and violated. The state doesn’t want to solve Gukurahundi in a way that would satisfy victims and survivors but is doing so in a way to benefit perpetrators. Everything has to be decided by us. Let’s not rush this exhumation but do it orderly. If a genocide has been committed, exhumations must meet international standards, not a manipulated process,” he said.