Ziyambi's "Nothing Will Be Done To Gukurahundi Perpetrators" Anger Human Rights Groups
The National Transitional Justice Working Group Zimbabwe (NTJWG) has demanded an apology and retraction from the government after justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said nothing will be done to the perpetrators of the Gukurahundi massacres.
Addressing the United Nations committee on the elimination of racial discrimination (CERD) last week, Ziyambi said arresting perpetrators of Gukurahundi would be a violation of the general amnesty declaration made by the late former President Robert Mugabe in 1987.
Approximately 20 000 people were killed in Midlands and Matabeleland in the aftermath of independence when Mugabe deployed the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade to “deal with” alleged dissidents.
NTJWG deputy chairperson Dzikamai Bere told journalists Thursday that Ziyambi’s remarks suggested that the government had no intention of redressing the Gukurahundi massacres, which Ziyambi loosely referred to as mere ‘disturbances.’ NewZimbabwe.com cites him as saying:
He stated that the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), whose constitutional mandate is to deal with post-conflict justice, has no mandate to deal with the mass atrocities which occurred during the Gukurahundi.
Ziyambi further stated that the government has no mandate to prosecute perpetrators of human rights violations due to the broad amnesty declared by former President Robert Mugabe under Clemency Order No. 1 of 1990.
Our position is that the amnesty granted did not resolve justice and accountability issues relating to the Gukurahundi massacres. This position has also been affirmed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has openly declared the need to address this issue, albeit through the engagement of chiefs.
The NTJWG calls on government to immediately censure Ziyambi’s pronouncement, make a public apology to the victims and survivors of Gukurahundi, stop undermining the role of the NPRC and capacitate the NPRC to enable justice and closure to victims and survivors of the Gukurahundi massacres.
Bere said the general amnesty declaration by Mugabe does not apply to genocide and crimes against humanity, “which the Gukurahundi massacre falls under.”