Traditional Leaders Block Efforts To Rename Gukurahundi

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Traditional Leaders Block Efforts To Rename Gukurahundi

Traditional leaders reportedly blocked efforts by a government official to use a “less problematic” name for the 1980s massacres in Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces commonly referred to as Gukurahundi.

The suggestion was made at the Bulawayo State House handover of a chiefs’ manual on handling the matter, according to Chief Khulumani Mathema of Gwanda.

Mathema made the claims while addressing delegates at the launch of the Centre for Innovation and Technology’s (CITE) “We Will Crush Them,” a documentary on the massacres that claimed some 20 000 mainly Ndebele-speaking people in the southern part of Zimbabwe.

Mathema said a name which he was not at liberty to reveal, was even suggested to replace Gukurahundi. He is quoted by NewZimbabwe as saying:

There was a situation we had in the meeting, we were told to change the name Gukurahundi.

It was supposed to be given another name. As Matabeleland chiefs we rejected it.

Someone provided another name; this divided the house and the rest of us Chiefs rejected that. It is still Gukurahundi.

Some Context:

In the aftermath of Independence, the late former President Robert Mugabe deployed the North Korean-trained 5th brigade into Midlands and Matabeleland “to deal” with “ZAPU dissidents”.

Approximately 20 000 people were killed in the process.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the Minister of State Security, his deputy Constantino Chiwenga was a commander at Bulawayo’s 1 Brigade while the late national hero Perrance Shiri was the commander of the 5th brigade during the period.

Mnangagwa’s new dispensation has considerably opened up space for discussion on the matter, but, the issue is still delicate.

Victims have been demanding compensation and State security agents sometimes harass those doing so while some pressure groups and academics have accused Mnangagwa of being insincere in his approach.

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