Activists have described President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s remarks during a tour of the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda as hypocritical as his government continues to restrict Gukurahundi commemorative events.
Mnangagwa described his visit to the memorial place for the 1994 Rwandan genocide as the “most sad and dark experience of my entire life”.
In Zimbabwe, there is no memorial site for the over 20 000 people estimated to have been killed in the early 1980s massacres.
Almost 40 years later, the Zimbabwean government is accused of dilly-dallying over resolving the Gukurahundi genocide hiding behind policy technicalities.
After seeing a picture of Mnangagwa at Kigali genocide memorial site, Zimbabwean and regional activists criticised the president’s double standards as victims are still clamouring for justice and truth.
“Mnangagwa’s behaviour is an insult to the people of Matabeleland. It insults our memory of the dead, injured and living victims. It says to us ‘you will do nothing,” said former National Healing Minister, Moses Mzila Ndlovu.
“Mnangagwa can’t continue pretending all is well back home in so far as the genocide is concerned because he was participant.”
Ndlovu claimed Mnangagwa needed to be accepted as someone “who is anti-genocide, who fights for human rights, stands for genuine African independence yet he is not what he projects.”
“The tragedy is the African continent is under siege from liars, clearly this person is living a lie. A lot of people are so ignorant of what he did exactly because this genocide is to large extent buried under concrete, as a result of the connivance of governments of the world powers at that time, who were supposed to be champions of democracy and human rights,” he said.
Ndlovu, Deputy National Leader of the Freedom Alliance party, said Zanu PF, which Mnangagwa led, falsified every situation, lying about respecting human life and dignity.
“You know the cries back home but go and visit memorials, I’ve been there at Kigali myself and that memorialisation was designed to preserve that truth. Mnangagwa thinks he should ignore what he was directly involved in and go on to project himself as a pious person, sinless yet he knows exactly who he stands for,” said the opposition leader.
He argued that the International Criminal Court must prepare a warrant of arrest for
Ndlovu also said to show the insincerity of the government, leaders in Zanu PF had harboured criminals who ran away from murdering people in Rwanda.
He referred to the case of the Rwandan genocide fugitive Protais Mpiranya who died in 2006 and was buried in the country after living locally for four years.
Mpiranya was discovered after a 20-year manhunt buried at a cemetery after he was given a new identity – Ndume Sambao and even ran a transportation business.
“Mpiranya was given a pseudonym, a kind of a Portuguese name Sambao by the Zanu PF government which Mnangagwa included to hide his identity. Mnangagwa thinks people don’t know, read, hear or see these things,” Ndlovu said.
A local pressure group, Ibhetshu LikaZulu, which for years has been calling for Gukurahundi justice expressed shock at Mnangagwa’s behaviour
“Shocking that he poses there when in his country a genocide is still unresolved, thousands are lying in shallow graves, commemorative plaques erected by families are bombed and stolen! The irony of it is astounding,” the organisation.
South African politician, Musi Maimane, on his twitter wrote Mnangagwa’s presence at Kigali Genocide Memorial was “Unbelievable. Hypocritical. Mnangagwa is a perpetrator of genocide.”