Villagers snub Bhalagwe heroes’ event

SUPPORTERS of MDC formations in Matobo district boycotted Heroes’ Day commemorations at Bhalagwe Heroes’ Acre near Maphisa, a place they say revives memories of Gukurahundi, as some of their relatives were buried there in mass graves.
The commemorations were held on Monday.

Richard Muponde

Those who attended the event were in Zanu PF party regalia, reducing the occasion into a party event.

MDC-T councillor for Ward 10, Alexander Phiri — in whose ward Bhalagwe Camp is located yesterday confirmed the boycott by villagers.

“I did not attend the ceremony like most villagers here. I couldn’t go there to be ridiculed as they were wearing party (Zanu PF) regalia,” he said.

“Most of the people who attended the ceremony were civil servants who work here in the district and a few Zanu PF supporters.

“Villagers who live here couldn’t attend the celebrations at the heroes’ acre, because it’s an insult to the victims of Gukurahundi to make them celebrate Heroes’ Day at the camp. The people buried there are not liberation heroes, but their relatives killed by Gukurahundi.”

Bhalagwe was used as a Gukurahundi torture camp in the mid-1980s and hundreds of civilians were reportedly butchered and their bodies allegedly thrown into Antelope Mine, a few metres away from the designated heroes’ acre.

Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF deputy national spokesperson Cain Mathema, whose party leader President Robert Mugabe is accused of being responsible for Gukurahundi atrocities, were fruitless as he could not be reached on his mobile phone.

However, Mathema is on record saying he does not comment or give interviews to Southern Eye.

Provincial commemorations were held in Gwanda.

Outgoing Matobo South legislator Gabriel Ndebele (MDC-T) recently said he was once tortured and left for dead at the site during the Gukurahundi era in the
1980s.

Apart from Bhalagwe, opposition political parties snubbed this year’s Heroes’ Day commemorations nationwide, including the main ceremony at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare.

They say the events were turned into Zanu PF rallies.

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