‘Gukurahundi continues to derail development in Matabeleland and Midlands’

The unresolved Gukurahundi genocide of the early 1980s continues to derail the development of the two regions, author and former ZPRA fighter, Vincent Hillary Ndlovu, has said.

Late former president Robert Mugabe deployed the North-Korean trained Fifth Brigade to Matabeleland and the Midlands who committed a number of atrocities including the abducting of many people who are yet to be accounted for over 30 years since Gukurahundi took place.

Speaking during the Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE) online public lecture, themed: “The Dissidents Story”, Ndlovu who now lives in the United Kingdom said the unresolved genocide was still a major setback in the development of the two regions.

The lecture was part of the ongoing CITE Asakhe Film Festival aimed at contributing towards national healing and reconciliation in Zimbabwe.

“As I have said that I was a community development worker in Zimbabwe for 10 years and I covered the entire country; I mean the entire country,” said Ndlovu.

“Even in simple projects, where people are to advance themselves as a community, once this issue (Gukurahundi) arises, let me tell you, the development agenda gets watered down, hence I have heard people talk about the people of Matabeleland and the Midlands being lazy, being not forthcoming in terms of projects that are proffered by the government.”

Ndlovu further explained: “This is the reason why these people have adopted this attitude. There is a lot of mistrust and unless justice is dispersed, there is no way these people can catch up with the rest of the country because the wounds are still open even if some people are talking about opening old wounds. Let’s be realistic.” Ndlovu who recently published a book on Gukurahundi titled: “Seeking Freedom and Justice: Loyal but not Docile” said it would not be easy for Gukurahundi victims in Matabeleland and the Midlands to trust the same government that subjected them to torture, with any developmental projects.

“All this I hear sometimes about the people from Matabeleland and the Midlands as being lazy and not forthcoming, I think people are not being honest with themselves and I think this is said by people who maybe have not been affected by what happened and what is happening actually and not only what happened because realistically, Gukurahundi is still on as far as I am concerned,” he said.

“The evidence is there for everybody to see. We might be in denial but people, let’s be honest. Justice, first and everything will fall into place.”

Ndlovu added that the media should play its role effectively for the Gukurahundi issue to be brought to finality. He said it was unfortunate that only ex-ZPRA cadres have been interviewed extensively on the subject while perpetrators have not been interrogated.

“No one has ever interviewed the perpetrators themselves,” said Ndlovu.

“I know the situation is not conducive because they are in power. But that is pertinent because the story remains one-sided. So I think the media should play its role in every society. Progressive role of course for any society to progress. There is no way this issue can be laid to rest without justice.”

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