PRESSURE groups in the Matabeleland region yesterday said they would not mourn the death of former minister and retired Zanu PF information secretary Nathan Shamuyarira due to his provocative Gukurahundi remarks.
Shamuyarira died on Wednesday night at West End Clinic in Harare. He was 85. Shamuyarira triggered a political firestorm in 2009 when he publically expressed no regret for the brutal killing of more than 20 000 civilians by the notorious 5 Brigade in Matabeleland and some parts of the Midlands province.
Shamuyarira told our sister paper The Standard the that President Robert Mugabe and former Cabinet minister Edison Zvobgo were wrong to apologise for the 5 Brigade massacres.
“No, I don’t regret. They (5 Brigade) were doing a job to protect the people,” Shamuyarira said.
The comments torched off a row with political leaders in Matabeleland where the North Korean-trained 5 Brigade was deployed ostensibly to crush dissidents which Mugabe said were loyal to his chief political opponent at the time, the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo.
Mbuso Fuzwayo, secretary-general of Ibhetshu Likazulu, said Shamuyarira “caused pain in the region” with his comments.
“We won’t mourn or miss him. At least he is gone. He attacked Mugabe and Zvobgo for offering their half-hearted apologies on the killing of our people. He (Shamuyarira) never showed any remorse on the tragic loss of those innocent people. He himself died of an illness, but those people were butchered and he celebrated that. So his death is a relief to some of us, as people who were so hardened on Gukurahundi are departing. Maybe reconciliation can be achieved,” Fuzwayo said.
Mugabe described the massacres as a “moment of madness” that should never be repeated while the late Zvobgo apologised and admitted that the massacres gave him sleepless nights.
War veteran Max Mnkandla said the region is still waiting for an apology from the national leadership.
“While we don’t celebrate or wish anyone to die, we do forgive Shamuyarira but we don’t forget his Gukurahundi remarks,” Mnkandla said.
“People (Gukurahundi victims) are still in pain of the killings, but while he was still alive Shamuyarira saw it as a light matter and that is why he criticised Mugabe for apologising.
“There was need and there is still need for an apology from the national leadership,” Mnkandla added.