VICE-President Phelekezela Mphoko must lobby for the reburial of Gukurahundi victims and compensation of survivors instead of seeking to airbrush history, a top MDC official has said.
BY SILAS NKALA
MDC Matabeleland South chairperson Pilate Ndebele said Mphoko’s recent statements seeking to absolve President Robert Mugabe of the 1980s atrocities in Matabeleland and the Midlands were provocative.
The VP last week told the National Assembly he would soon propose a law to promote national healing, but said continued debate about Gukurahundi was not helpful.
“How can he tell his own people to forget such heinous acts which left many families disintegrated and crumbled?” Ndebele asked.
“As we speak, some children are failing to secure birth certificates because their parents were killed during Gukurahundi.
“Since those who were children then are now grown up and have their own children, this means they are not able to get birth certificates for their offspring and the cause of that cannot be easily forgotten.”
An estimated 20 000 people died after the government deployed the North Korean-trained 5 Brigade in the two provinces after Mugabe dismissed late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo from his government.
Nkomo was accused of plotting to topple the government and most of the victims of the army clampdown were supporters of his Zapu party.
Mphoko, who was elevated to the vice-presidency last December to represent the Zapu component in Zanu PF, said Gukurahundi was a Western conspiracy.
Ndebele said instead of trying to deny Gukurahandi happened, Mphoko should be working towards national healing.
“As we approach the Heroes’ Day commemorations, Mphoko must ask his government to exhume victims who have been lying in the bush for more than 30 years now and arrange their decent reburials,” he said.
“He must also seek to assist relatives of the victims, those who have no identity particulars to secure them.
“As long as these issues are not put to rest in a proper manner, he must forget that people will ever forget Gukurahundi.
“Mphoko must not think that people can forget Gukurahundi just because he has become a vice-president.”
Mphoko, in his maiden speech in the National Assembly, said he would soon introduce a Bill to facilitate national peace and reconciliation.
He said it was not in the nation’s interest to go back to Gukurahundi, but to move forward and find ways to improve lives of people who were affected during the period.