ZCP rejects Gukurahundi hearings, calls for international probe

The Zimbabwe Communist Party (ZCP) says the planned Gukurahundi hearings, which chiefs are spearheading with the government, will not yield the desired results and instead called for an international commission to investigate the atrocities.

ZCP General Secretary, Ngqabutho Nicholas Mabhena, said first, the chiefs were incapable of leading the process; secondly, the exclusion of Midlands provinces sent a wrong signal; third, attempts to label Gukurahundi as something other than a genocide were disturbing, while attempts to bar the media was suspicious, yet the program was supposed to be open, transparent, and inclusive.

“We note the ongoing consultations with traditional chiefs over Gukurahundi, but as the ZCP, we reject the government approach and call for the establishment of an International Commission to investigate the circumstances that led to the genocide,” Mabhena told CITE in an interview.

“We do not believe that the Zanu PF government is capable of investigating its crimes.”

The ZCP general secretary said the ‘rightful’ body with a constitutional mandate to deal with such issues was the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), before its tenure ended and was moved to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).

“We also note with concern that our traditional leaders are assigned the task of dealing with the legacy of Gukurahundi, which is outside their capacity and their mandate,” Mabhena stated.

Mabhena questioned why the government had excluded Midlands provinces, yet the province also experienced attacks and needed healing.

“Although the genocide was concentrated in the Matabeleland and Midland Provinces against the Ndebele and Kalanga people, ZCP is aware that a significant number of killings of ZAPU supporters also took place in Mashonaland West, Manicaland, and Masvingo Provinces,” he said.

Mabhena also expressed concern that the National Chiefs Council’s deputy president, Chief Fortune Charumbira, attempted to downplay the severity of Gukurahundi by claiming it was not a genocide.

“Chief Charumbira claimed there is no concept of ‘genocide’ in African languages as we, as ZCP, refute this claim together with the obvious attempt to minimise the crime of Gukurahundi,” said the general secretary.

He went on to say that one of the attempts to downplay Gukurahundi was to prevent the media from reporting the hearings.

“If the process is to be transparent and there is nothing to hide, the media must be allowed to cover such programs as their constitutional right stipulated in Section 61 and 62,” Mabhena said. “We hope the chiefs will see sense and do what is proper because people need to be informed.”

Mabhena added that the government must also announce if they will publicise the chiefs’ findings because it had not released reports by the Dumbutshena Commission in 1982 and the Chihambakwe Commission in 1984.

“Neither of these reports has ever been made public. Maybe the shutting out of the media is to prevent them from publicising or broadcasting what people will be saying. Once again, we demand the release of the Reports of the two Commissions of Inquiry mentioned above. Until these are released we cannot recognize as serious any move by the government to deal with the subject,” Mabhena said.

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