By Xolisani Ncube
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba on Thursday said the emotive Gukurahundi issue is now water under the bridge amid reports of fresh mass graves being found at a primary school in Lupane. The graves are believed to contain bodies of victims of the 1980s massacres.
Charamba said President Robert Mugabe has already spoken with finality on the matter when he described it as a “moment of madness.”
“You are a crazy young man, hauna kunzwa here kuti (didn’t you hear) President Mugabe said it was a moment of madness, that is all I can tell you,” said Charamba when asked about the government’s position on the issue.
“That is a closed topic and people who want to talk about that era should know it.” Charamba’s comments come at a time when they are claims of the discovery of a mass grave which could contain remains of up 60 people who are believed to be victims of Gukurahundi.
National healing co-minister Moses Mzila Ndlovu said he visited Lupane district and confirmed the existence of the mass grave. He told the online media that the graves could contain between 30-60 people who could have been buried in the mass graves by the five-brigade troops.
“Dozens of people were detained, interrogated and executed before their bodies were dumped in mass graves dug up by the detainees. The grave is roughly 5×5 metres and locals told me there could be anything between 30 to 60 people buried there.”
Ndlovu was quoted as saying. Ndlovu promised to push government to give the Gukurahundi victims a decent burial. “Once the government accepts reburial, we should begin a programme of forensic exhumations in a way that is different to the clumsy and criminal way in which the Mt Darwin re-burials were handled.
“Local communities must be allowed to decide where and how people are reburied — whether individually or whether they want to create a single shrine where all victims would be laid to rest,” Ndlovu said.
According to human rights groups over 20 000 people are believed to have been murdered by North Korean trained Five Brigade troops between 1982 and 1987 under an operation known as “Gukurahundi.”
Douglas Mwonzora spokesperson of the MDC party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the discovery of the remains confirms Zanu PF’s “murderous” culture. He agreed with Ndlovu on the need for a decent burial of the remains but warned that it should be done in liaison with families concerned.
“The MDC believes that victims of Gukurahundi have to be compensated and justice has to take place so that we have peace. We believe that the discovery of the remains just confirms what was and still could be the culture of Zanu PF which is murderous.” said Mwonzora.
However, Charamba said those still stuck in the Gukurahundi issue are agents of the Americans only interested in the post-independent issues and ignoring the atrocities committed against Zimbabweans before independence.
“Why is it that you are concerned about the post-independence period? Are you telling me that is when politics started? This shows that you are speaking ideas of Americans,” said Charamba.
“We have the national healing programme being led by Vice president John Nkomo, they should help you with the programme outline.” added Charamba. Daily News
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