OPPOSITION Zapu President Dumiso Dabengwa plans to confront President Robert Mugabe over compensation for families of the 20,000 civilians killed during the 1980s Gukurahundi “madness”.
Mugabe, who was prime minister then, faces charges of genocide after his government unleashed a North Korea trained army brigade in the Matebeleland and Midlands regions supposedly to track down dissidents.
The campaign however, claimed the lives of thousands of civilians, most of them Ndebele supporters of his then rival Joshua Nkomo, who later became a deputy to Mugabe.
The Zanu PF leader, now 93-years-old has never apologised for the killings, only describing the period as a “moment of madness”.
Government has also done nothing to compensate the families of victims whose bodies the killed dumped in unmarked mass graves in the two regions.
“One of the failures of the last 30 years which we shall tackle is putting closure to the tragic history surrounding Gukurahundi,” said Dabengwa, a former home affairs minister in Mugabe’s government.
The Zapu leader made the remarks in a speech he was supposed to deliver to families of Gukurahundi victims commemorations in Kezi Saturday which were however aborted.
“For a start, there has been no official apology for the unwarranted destruction of life and property of over 20 000 unarmed civilians by the security apparatus of the state,” reads the speech.
“The unrepentant perpetrators of this crime against humanity have lost many opportunities to own up and to begin a healing process that starts with a sincere apology to families of victims, a program for redress including negotiated compensation even so late in the day.”
Dabengwa, who is also the leader of the Coalition of Democrats (CODE), said they would use the opposition forum to demand that Mugabe takes full responsibility for the Gukurahundi massacres.
“We have intensified this by playing a constructive role in forging unity of opposition forces to remove entrenched Zanu PF rule in the 2018 elections because we thought that these were some of the issue that could have been dealt with by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission established under the 2013 Constitution,” said wrote.
At the weekend, police on Saturday bared Dabengwa from attending Gukurahundi commemorations organised by a local community organisation, I Bhetshu Likazulu.
Police had earlier sanctioned the event which was scheduled for Bhalagwe, Kezi in Matebeleland South. Dabengwa and his entourage were however, barred from the site.
Zapu spokesperson, Mjobisa Noko, told New Zimbabwe on Saturday that they were frustrated by this development.
“We would like to condemn this type of attitude shown by Mugabe and his government and to us this shows that he has more to hide and his ministry of national healing is just to hoodwink the Zimbabweans into believing that he has repented,” said Noko.
“It is Zapu’s right to visit these sites like any other sites that are being visited in and outside the country.
“We refuse to be intimidated; enough is enough and as Zapu we want the issue of Gukurahundi to be brought to closure and we are calling for the creation of a truth and reconciliation commission.”