ED Says Politicians Are Using Gukurahundi To Gain Political Mileage
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has accused unnamed political parties of weaponising the Gukurahundi atrocities in a bid to get political mileage.
He was speaking at the launch of the Gukurahundi community engagement programme at Bulawayo State House this Monday.
Mnangagwa said his government wants peace, accusing “external forces” of working with opposition parties in weaponising the atrocities that claimed an estimated 20 000 people in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces. He claimed:
Despite our determination to achieve unity, our nation has not been spared of the divisive machinations of our detractors who seek to drive a wedge between our people, and generally destabilise our country.
The Gukurahundi issue has provided fertile ground for those who seek to retain us in a locked position of perpetual conflict and acrimony. Some political formations have sought to use the Gukurahundi issue as a political weapon which they deploy in the regions of Matabeleland and Midlands to gain political mileage for selfish political ends.
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You will have noted that whenever we approach elections, external forces using political parties which they control, make a concerted effort to incite citizens to engage in divisive conduct, ostensibly all under the quest of achieving what they term justice for the region.
I urge you all to be vigilant and to disregard any attempts by any party or grouping to achieve political mileage through the Gukurahundi issue. Never again shall we be divided by those who purport to teach democracy.
To the external detractors who seek to maintain Gukurahundi as a perennial fountain of conflict, I say to you Lingena ngaphi (Where do you come in).
Mnangagwa said his government has mandated traditional leaders to lead the Gukurahundi community engagement process to bring the case to finality.
Gukurahundi, derived from a Shona language term which loosely translates to “the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains,” refers to killings that happened in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces in the 1980s.
Then Prime Minister, Robert Mugabe deployed the North Korean-trained 5th Brigade to “deal” with the alleged threat of “dissidents” in those provinces.
An estimated 20 000, mostly Ndebele-speaking people died in the conflict.
Government critics including the opposition have over the years been calling upon authorities to compensate the families of Gukurahundi victims.