Gwanda grisly find test for the police


THE macabre discovery of human remains of at least four people at a disused mineshaft in Gwanda last week has brought impetus to calls for law enforcement agencies to deal with numerous cases of assassinations linked to the 2008 violent elections that have remained unresolved.

Southern Eye Editorial

Gold panners stumbled on the remains at Bina Mine in Judas Farm, located behind the Jacaranda low-density suburb.

Police have since collected some of the remains and advised the gold panners to inform them of further developments.According to police, the remains were in an advanced state of decomposition.

The mine had been lying idle for a while, having been left by German operators and at this stage it would be difficult to say when these people were murdered or what their crime was.

Panners who found the remains say they suspected they were of people who could have been assassinated because on the scene there were some brown military shoes.

There were also red and grey blankets, wires, ropes and black plastic bags, suggesting the victims could have been tied and suffocated in the black sheets, before being thrown into the 26m deep shaft.

Two bones, believed to be limbs, were still tied together to suggest one of the victims was tied on the legs.

Those in Gwanda who suspect that these could be victims of political violence, cite the case of Pumelo Makhurane who disappeared in 2000 at his home only for his remains to be discovered five years later by a firewood poacher at a mountain outside Gwanda town.

Makhurane had been a presiding officer during the elections and disappeared after the announcement of the results.

His killers are yet to be brought to book.There are many such cases of people still searching for answers following the disappearance of relatives without trace during political disturbances of the past.

It is also an open secret that people know of relatives who were murdered for political reasons and thrown into mine shafts in the region since the time of Gukurahundi.

Police have an unenviable task to get to the bottom of the mystery created by the discovery of the Gwanda remains and bring the murderers to book.

Anything less than that would erode the little confidence left that the police can deal with political crimes, including murder, without fear or favour.