ED, Jenni Williams dragged to court

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Jeffrey Muvundusi
in BULAWAYO

PRESSURE groups in Matabeleland have dragged President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Matabeleland Collective leader Jenni Williams to court over the emotive Gukurahundi killings of the 1980s.

Pressure group Ibetshu Likazulu, Zapu and activist Charles Thomas filed an urgent application at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an interdict to stop Mnangagwa, Matabeleland Collective and Williams from undertaking exhumations and reburials of those killed during Gukurahundi in the 1980s in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

The applicants said the three respondents were contravening a number of laws of the country, adding that trying to address the Gukurahundi killings without involving the affected persons was misguided.

In his founding affidavit, Thomas said: “I have recently learnt from media reports which is now a notorious fact, that on 22 August and in Bulawayo, the first respondent (Mnangagwa) met with the 3rd respondent ( Matabeleland Collective) led by the 4th respondent (Williams) and came to an agreement (disinterment and reburials.)”

Thomas noted that according to a statement in the media attributed to government spokesperson Nick Mnangagwa, the exhumations and reburials had been set for September 2020.

Thomas further noted that reburials or disinterment of remains of all those killed would have to be carried out.

“Firstly, there is no way the programme can be carried out without interfering with a grave or the corpse.
“Secondly, these graves or places like Antelope Mine in Kezi or Mtshabezi Mountains or various shallow graves where the various deceased persons …..are at law, crime scenes or scenes of crime.”

As a result, Thomas said, this would contaminate evidence and impair investigations.

“Thirdly, the respondents had no mandate to represent me, let alone anyone affected by the Gukurahundi killings.
“Only those directly affected like me, the 5th and 6th respondents have the legal standing to discuss the issue of disinterment and reburials after following due process as set out in the Inquest Act.

“Disinterment of so many people killed by the 5th Brigade cannot be carried out without identifying each and every one of their remains first through DNA in conjunction with testing of their relatives to link all of them with their surviving relatives.”

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