Gukurahundi is haunting President Emmerson Mnangagwa as evidenced by his attempts to use traditional leaders to appease affected communities in the region, leader of Bulawayo-based political outfit, the Freedom Alliance, Samukele Hadebe has said.
Speaking at a public engagement meeting his party organised at the weekend in Bulawayo, Hadebe said Mnangagwa realised that Gukurahundi ranks in the world of genocides that are punishable at an international stage hence his rush to try and get it off the eyes of the international community.
The Zanu PF strongman has held several meetings with chiefs and other traditional leaders in Bulawayo to try and find solutions to the atrocities, which have been described by analysts as half-hearted measures aimed at addressing the Gukurahundi genocide.
“It is very clear, from the outset, that Gukurahundi is a genocide. There is no need for us to apologise for saying that,” Hadebe said.
“Even Mnangagwa himself knows that Gukurahundi is a genocide and he is well aware that a genocide is a crime against humanity that is punishable internationally. That is why you see him eager to push chiefs to the forefront of this cleansing programme on Gukurahundi wherein he makes chiefs lead the process of healing.
“As the Freedom Alliance, we are saying that chiefs have no role to play in addressing internationally condemned crimes and criminal activity. Chiefs should preside over their activities as enshrined in the law and in accordance with our traditional customs and not be seen cow-towing to the whims and caprices of criminals that are aware of the impending trials on crimes against humanity.
“We are also challenging communities to remain resolute in stating and calling out Mnangagwa and his government to recognize Gukurahundi as a genocide because that is what it is,” said Hadebe.
He added that it was incumbent upon Mnangagwa to acknowledge, on behalf of the government, that Gukurahundi, at its roll-out, was a government programme.
“Mnangagwa does not need to be a denialist that he is now. On one hand, he acknowledges that there were situations that led to the loss of life for 20 000 innocent civilians. He asks chiefs to lead a process of healing but does not want to acknowledge that that which chiefs are being asked to lead in healing was a genocide unleashed on the people by the government.
“The government funded the recruitment, training, and upkeep of the Fifth Brigade by the North Koreans. It simply shows that the Gukurahundi operation belongs to the government. It was taxpayer’s money that was in the hands of the government that was used to drive the implementation of the entire programme and we need, as a people, to ensure that we force Mnangagwa and his government to fully acknowledge these facts and come out in the open about them,” Hadebe added.
Hadebe also reiterated that an independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission, led by respected judges and composed of the church, would be requisites to a full truth-telling process that would see those that had a hand in the Gukurahundi atrocities being called to account.