We will fight for justice over Gukurahundi
Following changes to the parliament and government in Zimbabwe, Mckay Tshuma of Mthwakazi Research Institute, caught up with Miss Nomagugu “Magugu” Khumalo of the Gukurahundi Genocide Survivors For Justice (GGS4J) for an interview.
Tshuma: Nkosazana, welcome back to our Question and Answer Time at Mthwakazi Research Institute
Khumalo: Thank you.
Tshuma: The Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe did research on Gukurahundi in 1999, but failed to push for justice despite all the tangible evidence they found, that any court could needed to nail the perpetrators of the genocide. Why do you think they failed?
Khumalo: The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace said they were only collecting data on the atrocities of Gukurahundi. There was no indication that they were going to pursue. it any further. Second thing is that they may be a possibility that the CCJP was somehow made to let go of any further probing by the Zimbabwean government. This may seem remote but it’s possible.
Tshuma: How do you guys intend to differ from CCJPZ’s approach to this issue for you to achieve your objectives?
Khumalo: Our main goal is JUSTICE which is why we say no amount of pressure or intimidation would make us back down until we achieve this. For us to reach the justice that we so seek the following have to happen with no compromise (1) – Acknowledgment by the Zimbabwean government that Gukurahundi did happen. (2) – Litigation on the part of the perpetrators. (3) – Reparation for the survivors of Gukurahundi. Ours is not just a therapeutic cause, it is multi pronged and we are going to address and seek redress on all factors concerning Gukurahundi.
Tshuma: Mugabe announced his cabinet last week and Mnangagwa who headed the CIOs during the time of gukurahundi was given the Justice Ministry. Do you think Mnangagwa will ever allow the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry in Zimbabwe over Gukurahundi?
Khumalo: Mnangagwa will never allow for the setting up of a commission of inquiry on Gukurahundi. Seeing he was one of the principals behind Gukurahundi he obviously will not agree to something that incriminates him. In fact what l see is the whole lot of Gukurahundi perpetrators forming some sort of amalgamation to crush any voices of dissent. As far as they are concerned they say “Gukurahundi happened so what?”
Tshuma: So which other ways do you think will work for you in case option A fails?
Khumalo: Option A would never work in the Zimbabwean scenario given the current breed of leadership. Our option B is to mobilize for a universal awareness on the atrocities of Gukurahundi. As per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights genocide is a punishable offense. We intend to make the whole world listen and take stock of the events that took place then. Surely the International Court of Justice would then have to convene.
Tshuma: The Ministry of National Healing, which was headed by Mr Moses Mzila Ndlovu, has been scratched off the Parliament of Zimbabwe. What does that say to the Gukurahundi affected people and to GGS4J as an organization?
Khumalo: The scraping of the organ of National Healing as a ministry spells doom for the Gukurahundi survivors. I believe the Honorable President of Zimbabwe did this with all full intention. This is Zimbabwe’s first way of crushing anything and anyone who dares raise a voice against Gukurahundi. The organ has now been relegated to some shelf issue in the office of the President which cripples its objectives as anything concerning Gukurahundi would have to go via the president’s office, Mugabe isn’t stupid to allow an enquiry on Gukurahundi to take place. But the Gukurahundi survivors should not despair because we seek neither the the president’s or anyone’s approval to push with our agenda of getting justice. And justice we shall get eventually.
Tshuma: Ibhetshu likaZulu have been fighting for the release of the Dumbutshena Gukurahundi Inquiry Report but no one listens to them. Do you guys need that report and if yes how would you make the Zimbabwean government comply with your demands?
Khumalo: Yes, we definitely need both the Dumbutshena and Chihambakwe Commissions of Inquiry reports. However we are not going to start a fresh push for the release of such documents. We and Ibhetshu likaZulu are pushing for the same agenda on Gukurahundi. We will let Ibhetshu likaZulu go on with the pursuit of these documents and assist where we can for their release. Pursuing the same documents will be counter productive for either of us.
Tshuma: Do you guys welcome other groups like Ibhetshu likaZulu and many more that have been fighting to see justice for gukurahundi, to work this out together?
Khumalo: Yes we certainly welcome any group working on Gukurahundi as long as we serve the same purpose. It tends to make our cause much more credible and stronger, as goes the old adage ‘there’s power in numbers’.
Tshuma: Have you started taking of testimonies and how do people respond to your call?
Khumalo: Yes we have taken testimonies from a lot of survivors so far.
Tshuma: Who is funding your organization so far and what are the challenges you are faced with, running this project?
Khumalo: We do not have a funder. We would appreciate any form of resources from interested parties to help expedite our cause. Our biggest challenge so far has been the lack of resources. At times we find ourselves incapacitated because of this.
Tshuma: Do you see GGS4J existing after the gukurahundi issue is settled, if yes what are your secondary objectives?
Khumalo: Yes GGS4J would certainly exist after litigation and reparation. Our focus would then shift to memorization of Gukurahundi. Our children have to be taught about what really happened during Zimbabwe’s darkest hour. They need to be taught proper untainted, non biased history. they need to be made aware of the devious effects of a genocide.
Gukurahundi will have to be taught at schools as a history subject. Still on the moralization, historical monuments on gukurahundi will have to be erected. This would include monuments mainly in the areas where Gukurahundi hit the most (Bhalagwe, Siwale river in Lupane, Tsholotsho etc), Gukurahundi museums (one in Zimbabwe, one somewhere in Africa and the last on abroad, maybe in North Korea). We say Gukurahundi, NEVER AGAIN!
Again we want to build Old Age and Orphanage Homes. In Mbuma Mission in Lupane, we found 78 year old man, whose only son was shot dead by the 5th Brigade and the same goes with all the children that have been dumped by their parents who happen to have been affected by the Gukurahundi. There are also people who have been left with permanent body disability by the Gukurahundi, who we should teach some life skills that can help them live a dependent life once more, depending on his/her disability.
Tshuma: Again tell the people where they can get hold of you?
Khumalo: Like we said last time, our office is being refurbished. As soon as it is complete we’ll post our physical address for all to access. Our mobile numbers are 0027 767924503 and 0027 732655758. Our e-mail address is [email protected] Or alternatively contact us on our facebook page. Those wishing to assist us can inbox us for our banking details.
Tshuma: Thank for your time Nkosazana and good luck.
Khumalo: Thank you.