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Mnangagwa not ready to defend Gukurahundi exhumation plans

Bulawayo High Court Judge Justice Martin Makonese on Thursday postponed to next week a hearing into a case in which a Gukurahundi survivor and local pressure groups are pushing to stop exhumation of the victims of the 1980s genocide by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Charles Thomas, a Gukurahundi survivor, opposition Zapu and Ibhetshu Likazulu filed a joint urgent application at the Bulawayo High court seeking an interdict to bar Mnangagwa’s administration from exhuming victims of the state-sponsored massacres ostensibly for decent reburial.

The application cited Mnangagwa and Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe are both respondents.

But Mnangagwa and Kazembe requested through their lawyer, Rejoice Hove of the Attorney General for deferment of the case citing ill-preparedness.

The litigants are also suing Jenni Williams, Matabeleland Collective, National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) chairperson Retired Justice Sello Nare as well as the Commission.

“The 1st respondent (Mnangagwa) and 2nd respondent (Kazembe Kazembe) indicated through the AG’s office that they are not yet ready for the hearing.

“They said they only received the papers yesterday (Wednesday) and they need enough time to prepare their defence,” said the litigants‘ lawyer Nqobani Sithole.

This comes after Mnangagwa had planned to officially launch the issuance of identity documents to Gukurahundi victims at Maphisa growth point in Matabeleland South next month.

An estimated 20 000 civilians mainly of the Ndebele origin were killed during the Gukurahundi Massacres. Mnangagwa was State Security minister under late former president Robert Mugabe in the 1980s and is accused of playing a leading role in the massacres.