By Silas Nkala
Matabeleland traditional leaders have called for the resignation of former MDC-T vice-president Obert Gutu from the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) claiming he was conflicted and thus could not deal with the emotive Gukurahundi issue.
Gutu is the NPRC spokesperson and on Tuesday courted fire when he said the Gukurahundi issue, which claimed over 20 000 people from Matabeleland and Midlands regions in the 1980s, was “a small tiny fraction of issues” his commission was seized with.
The civilians were massacred by a crack army unit deployed to the region by then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe to flush out perceived PF-Zapu dissidents.
Yesterday, traditional leaders joined human rights groups in condemning Gutu, describing his statements as retrogressive and malicious to the founding principles of the NPRC.
Chief Mathema of Gwanda said Gutu was not adding any value to the NPRC and should resign with immediate effect.
“He (Gutu) lacks the calibre required for this emotive genocide,” Chief Mathema said.
“He is not a serious person and he lacks depth in approaching the Gukurahubndi issue. He should better excuse himself from this important commission that people hope will solve most of their problems that relate to Gukurahundi. He lacks insight into human nature.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year tasked the traditional leaders in Matabeleland and Midlands regions to preside over the emotive issue and consult affected citizens on the way forward.
He said government would only capacitate the process.
Chief Jahana of Insiza said Gutu was clueless when it came to dealing with matters of conflict and could worsen the situation.
“He (Gutu) has no focus as a person coming from the region that never lost any relative in such genocide,” Chief Jahana said.
Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo said Gutu’s remarks exposed the NPRC as a tool used by government, the chief perpetrator, in buying time.
“The appointment of Gutu removed all doubt about government’s unwillingness to find a lasting solution on the Gukurahundi genocide,” Fuzwayo said.
“Gutu’s history of fraternising with the Zanu PF regime dates back to the days of Gukurahundi genocide, where he was part of the Judiciary that was a vital tool in human rights violations.
“It’s very unfortunate and sad that the whole NPRC can sit and agree that the genocide, which claimed a minimum of 20 000 lives, left thousands of women abused, raped, scores bayoneted, many people displaced, tortured and forcibly disappeared, is nothing but a ‘small, tiny fraction’.”
NPRC chairperson Selo Nare was not reachable for comment on Gutu’s remarks. NewsDay