Tempers flare in Gukurahundi debate

TEMPERS flared on Tuesday at a public debate on elections at Sapes Trust in Harare when the moderator raised the issue of Gukurahundi atrocities, saying it was beyond belief that victims in Matabeleland could vote Zanu PF.

VENERANDA LANGA

Renowned academic, Rudo Gaidzanwa was the moderator during the debate on a topic “Zimbabwe Elections 2013: A Post Mortem” pitting discussants Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC-T, Goodwills Masimirembwa of Zanu PF and a senior researcher from the Research and Advocacy Unit, Tony Reeler.

She was immediately interjected by angry Zanu PF supporters.

“From your discussions, one would like to find out how Gukurahundi victims in Matabeleland could suddenly bury the hatchet and vote for Zanu PF, a party which committed those atrocities, and also given that Zanu PF had never won a single seat there since 1980,” Gaidzanwa said.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace estimates that about 20 000 civilians, mainly from Matabeleland and the Midlands, were massacred during Gukurahundi atrocities committed by the North Korean-trained 5 Brigade during the 1980s.

President Robert Mugabe has since described the event as a moment of madness.

Zanu PF supporters who were present during the discussions were irked further after Gaidzanwa alleged that the party had bussed people to register in Mt Pleasant, Harare.

“There were also many strangers being bussed in Mount Pleasant where I live during the voter registration process resulting in my children who wanted to register as voters failing to do so because of the long queues,” she continued.

An irked Zanu PF supporter sought a point of order over Gaidzanwa’s accusations of bussing of people, asking how she knew they were Zanu PF supporters, as they could have been MDC-T.

Zanu PF activist Goodson Nguni weighed in saying Gaidzanwa should explain the logic of how victims of Ian Smith’s Rhodesian regime could also vote for the MDC-T.

In response, Masimirembwa said the Unity Accord, signed by Mugabe and the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, was bearing fruits and that was why Matabeleland people voted for Zanu PF.

“Zanu PF has a majority in Matabeleland and all that this demonstrates from the time of the Unity Accord, is we are seeing the fruits of peace among our people,” he said.

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