Ibhetsu LikaZulu petitions Matanga to probe Gukurahundi memorial plaques cases

Ibhetshu LikaZulu has written a letter of complaint to the police commissioner-general Godwin Matanga on the failure by the police to investigate the destruction of the Gukurahundi memorial plaques.

This comes after four memorial plaques installed by Ibhetshu LikaZulu and the affected communities in Silobela in Midlands and Bhalagwe in Matabeleland South were destroyed by unknown people.

In Silobela the plaques were installed on 25 May 2021 and destroyed by 5 June 2021. A replacement was installed on 30 August 2021, and it was destroyed and stolen from the site on 3 September 2021.

Similarly in Bhalagwe, a plaque was installed on 21 February 2019, and it was destroyed and stolen after 7 days. A replacement was installed on 25 May 2021, and again it was destroyed and stolen soon thereafter. It was again replaced in October 2021, and it was destroyed this year in January 2022.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) who are representing Ibhetshu likaZulu said the continued destruction of the memorial plaques is not only a criminal act but is causing grave pain to the affected communities and is hindering the process of healing from the pain and trauma of losing their loved ones in the manner that they did.

“Such acts will continue to perpetuate the trauma within this community and will prevent the process of healing, reconciliation and nurturing unity and peace,” read the letter.

They called on the police to investigate the cases and bring the perpetrators to book.

“The communities fear that if the perpetrators are not held accountable, their efforts in installing plaques and preserving memory for their departed loved ones will continue to be in vain, and this has caused, continues and will continue to cause emotional distress and economic loss, “ said ZLHR.

“There is no law that prohibits our clients from working with the communities in installing plaques in memory of their departed loved ones. We, therefore, appeal to your office to ensure that police officers do their work by investigating this criminal conduct.”

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