‘Britain complicit in Gukurahundi’

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GUKURAHUNDI victims and rights groups in Matabeleland region have accused the British government of being complicit in the mass killings and challenged the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to summon the former colonial masters’ representatives to come and testify in the matter.

BY SILAS NKALA

Speaking during a national healing and reconciliation indaba organised by Habakkuk Trust in Bulawayo on Thursday, various civic groups blamed the British government for allegedly aiding the atrocities by refusing to rein in then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace claimed that over 20 000 people were killed during the military-led atrocities, which occurred between 1982 and 1987, with most of the victims being innocent civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

The participants called on NPRC Commissioner Lesley Ncube, who was present at the meeting, to take the initiative to summon representatives of the United Kingdom government to respond to the allegations.

“Commissioner, it is clear that Britain was complicit in the killings of people in this part of the country. They did nothing to stop it and we feel that they have a hand in the Gukurahundi. Why can’t they be brought in when we talk about this issue to tell us their position and answer our questions?” a participant asked.

In response, Ncube said: “It’s very important that when we have such important issues. Let’s put them in writing and make submissions because word of mouth at times does not work. When you submit papers to the commission, you are building up your case through evident submissions and you will be able to say ‘in a letter dated this day, I submitted to the commission, I said this’.”

Ncube told participants that Ibhetshu LikaZulu’ filed a similar court case against Mugabe, current President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice-President Kembo Mohadi and British Premier Theresa May, but the matter failed to take off because the complainants did not submit their papers to the commission.

Sometime early this year, Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo, civil rights activist Dumisani Mpofu and Gukurahundi survivor, Charles Thomas filed a High Court application seeking an order compelling the respondents to release the Chihambakwe and Dumbutshena Commissions report on Gukurahundi which were allegedly suppressed by Mugabe’s administration.

Speaking at the same event, Mpofu challenged the NPRC to demand the immediate release of the two reports by Mnangagwa’s government.

“The findings of other commissions which were captured when the wounds were still fresh in people’s minds must be released as at the moment the facts may be distorted,” he said.