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Gukurahundi: Is there traction on justice?

THE Crisis Report brings to you a presentation by Ibhetshu LikaZulu leader, Mbuso Fuzwayo on the issue of Gukurahundi.

The presentation was made during a virtual dialogue meeting hosted by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, which also looked at the issue of national healing.

Fuzwayo presented on whether there is traction relating to the Gukurahundi massacres which claimed an estimated 20 000 people in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces.

Below, we capture his presentation:

“The question asks: Is there traction on justice on the Gukurahundi genocide?

The answer is, NO. Nothing at all on that front. There is nothing, not because it is impossible to do something to get justice, but because nothing is being done to get justice.

As Ibhetshu Likazulu, we have maintained and shall continue to maintain that there can’t be justice without the truth, and no truth without a genuine search for the truth.

To us, truth and justice are two sides of the same coin. The road to justice on the Gukura- hundi genocide must be paved through the truth.

We, therefore, need a mechanism and process that will deliver the truth first as a prerequisite for justice. As we speak there is no such mechanism and process. The Government of Zimbabwe has no intention at all to seek and deliver truth and justice.

The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), as currently constitut- ed and mandated, cannot de- liver truth and justice either.

The NPRC is in many ways a practical, yet sad, expres- sion of the unwillingness of the Government of Zimbabwe to bring about the resolution of the Gukurahundi genocide.

Its composition and mandate tells a story of a body designed and instructed to fail. The NPRC is failing not because things are difficult but because it was designed to fail.

The biggest challenge we have is that we are attempting to meaning fully address the Gukurahundi genocide when the perpetrator is still in power.

As Ibhetshu LikaZulu, we are not naïve. We know there is no commitment on the part of the perpetrator to find a lasting solution to the Gukurahundi genocide. We know the perpe- trator is buying time and hop- ing that victims and survivors will somehow forget and move on with their lives.

The regime is hoping that with time, the Gukurahundi genocide will be forgotten. This, however, will never hap- pen. The pain is being passed from one generation to the other. Memories of pain con- tinue to be transferred to fu- ture generations.

As such, even centuries can- not derail the search for truth and justice. It will continue be- yond the life of ZANU PF and even when none of the survi- vors are alive.

Way forward

First, we need a post-ZANU dispensation. Only after ZANU PF is gone can we have the possibility of a process and in- stitutions that can bring about truth and justice.

Secondly, we need a genuinely independent body, with adequate human, technical and financial resources, to replace the NPRC. Such a body must be composed of international experts on mass atrocity crimes and be supervised by the United Nations. No justice can emerge from a process led by the perpetrators and bodies they control.

We reject the sham process led by President Mnangagwa as a waste of time and resources. He knows his process will not result in truth and jus- tice. His process is a cover up.

Victims and survivors have a right to know the full truth about what happened, where, who did what, and the fate of those who disappeared. Most importantly, the victims have the right to mourn their dead. Like all other rights, this right is being denied.

Many have been arrested or somehow persecuted for mourning, just for expressing grief about their dead. Memorial plaques are being pulled down by the state.

None of this points to a state that is committed to truth and jus- tice. Truth and justice go hand in hand.

As I conclude, let me empha- size what I consider to be the most important prerequisites for truth and justice. What we need is:

• A victim-centered and victim-driven process

• An international in- dependent body to lead the search for truth and justice

• Full acknowledgement

• Truth telling

• Meaningful participation

of affected communities


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