By Brenna Matendere
The MDC has thrown its weight behind traditional leaders who are calling upon President Emmerson Mnangagwa to apologise over the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres.
Last week, Mnangagwa met chiefs from Matabeleland and Midlands provinces whose areas were affected by Gukurahundi where an estimated 20 000 people were killed by the North Korean-trained 5th Brigade soldiers. Thousands more were displaced during the disturbances.
The chiefs demanded that Mnangagwa, who was State Security minister during that period, apologise for massacres before a healing process can be conducted to give closure to the contentious issue.
They also demanded that Mnangagwa should not lead the healing process because he was part of the offending party and called for an independent mediator to convene the hearings.
In an interview with Southern Eye, MDC spokesperson Daniel Molokele and his deputy Luke Tamborinyoka said an apology will be the best foot forward for the President who has indicated he
wants to tackle the thorny issue.
“Mnangagwa continues to portray and sing the rhetoric of reforms. We have not seen the substance of his rhetoric – from law reform to Gukurahundi,” Tamborinyoka told Southern Eye.
“Gukurahundi, outside of an outright apology to the people of Zimbabwe in general and the people of Matabeleland and Midlands in particular, Mnangagwa is once again taking everyone up the garden path. An apology is free and it does not cost money, neither does it require a committee. All it needs is sincerity.”
Molokele said an all-stakeholder approach that is not controlled by government would effectively deal with the Gukurahundi issue.
“We need an all-stakeholder approach, a process that will not be partisan. It is important that Zimbabwe goes through a process of opening up a truth and reconciliation process, a process that would not be controlled by government. We need something bigger and broader that is not controlled by the political forces at play,” he said.
On Mnangagwa’s dialogue process, Molokele said it is a futile attempt.
“Whatever process the President has come up with, we are not sure of whether it is the right path, so it’s not something that we support.
“So at the end of the day, we have reservations about this process and it is up to ED (Mnangagwa) to prove himself that he really means business. At the moment, we will just wait and see,” Molokele said.
Mnangagwa is on record saying he will only apologise for Gukurahundi if the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission says he must do so. NewsDay