THE Matabeleland Forum, Zimbabwe Communist Party (ZCP) and Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) have joined other organisations in the country in condemning utterances by one of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) commissioners, Obert Gutu who this week trivialised the emotive and unresolved Gukurahundi issue.
Speaking during a press conference in Harare, Tuesday, Gutu said the Gukurahundi issue is just a “small, tiny fraction” of their mandate triggering the anger of many Zimbabweans especially those from Matabeleland and the Midlands who lost their loved ones during the atrocities.
In a statement, the Matabeleland Forum, which is a consortium of civic society in the region, said it was alarmed and concerned by Gutu’s remarks.
“There is an urgent need for the NPRC to distance itself from and to correct the recent statement by their official spokesperson,” said the Matabeleland Forum.
The Forum said failure for the NPRC to do that, they will consider the latter as no longer having any interest in working on issues considered key and central by NGOs and churches in Matabeleland.
“The ZCP finds Obert Gutu’s outrageous remarks very insensitive to the victims of Gukurahundi,” said the party’s secretary for information and publicity, Bongani Mkwananzi.
“This is tantamount to dismissing this very emotive issue to a triviality which he says is small and tiny. It’s an affront from a formal institution meant to play a part in finding closure, justice and a resolution to the issue.
Mkwananzi said Gutu’s remarks show that the NPRC is a “farce meant to hoodwink the victims into thinking something is being done, while the leaders of the same commission mock the pain of the victims.”
He said Gutu had further exposed that the NPRC was an insincere organ.
“The ZCP calls for a dedicated commission to look specifically into the Gukurahundi issue which to its victims is not a small but very painful episode with forever reaching implications to their lives,” said Mkwananzi.
“Losing loved ones and facing the trauma of a genocide is not a small issue. Gukurahundi was a genocide. There must be reparations and accountability and this won’t be brought on by this trivialist farce of a commission!”
He added that Gutu should simply be removed from the NPRC if ever it is to have integrity.
Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) president, Mqondisi Moyo also condemned Gutu’s utterances.
“Foul utterances by Obert Gutu who was recently appointed to the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) on the emotive Gukurahundi issue cannot be ignored by any living soul,” said Moyo.
“Gutu has said without shame that the Gukurahundi genocide which left about 40 000 dead, thousands others disappeared is not significant to deserve attention. He described it as just a small fraction of the many problems the government should be dealing with. Some of the problems, he says, date back to the pre-independence era. One wonders the criterion by which Gutu was appointed to serve in a Commission which is supposed to be composed of people with an unquestionable commitment to true peace and reconciliation.”
He said citizens look up to the NPRC in closing wounds of injustice opened by the Zanu-PF government soon after independence.
“Here we have Gutu, in line with the thinking and attitudes of his fellow kinsmen, relegating the genocide to an insignificant lot. Who in their right senses will ever have faith in NPRC? Who will take the Mnangagwa government seriously especially on issues touching the people of Matabeleland? None.”