ED to launch programme at Gukurahundi hot spot

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Jeffrey Muvundusi
in BULAWAYO

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is soon expected to launch a documentation programme for Gukurahundi victims in Matabeleland South province.

This was revealed by the leader of the Matabeleland Collective, Jenni Williams, soon after meeting Mnangagwa at State House over the weekend.

Williams said a number of programmes have been underway in preparation for a complete redress of the atrocities where an estimated 20 000 innocent civilians died at the hands of security forces in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the 1980s.

“We are going to launch this exercise in Matopo. We are going to take His Excellency to launch in that district because for us that is the centre, around Bhalagwe, where these things happened. His Excellency needs to be able to come there and see people, launch this exercise,” she said without stating time frames.

Bhalagwe, situated in Kezi’s Matobo District, is widely seen as one of the Gukurahundi flash points where hundreds were reportedly thrown into the disused Antelope Mine.

In the same area, the army also ran a concentration camp where beatings, detentions and murders took place.
Williams, however, said the engagement with the president was more on the implementation side. This comes after civil society here met Mnangagwa in February this year over the same subject.

“For us and the churches, this was much more meaningful because now we are actually operationalising some of the items in the implementation matrix. There have been engagements with various line ministries, at various ministerial, permanent secretary and actually at provincial level,” she said.

“For us in Matabeleland, we want it to be clear these people were killed during Gukurahundi and so the death certificates of our loved ones must be a truth telling element. I think some of those issues have now been addressed.”

While Mnangagwa, like his predecessor Robert Mugabe, has declined to apologise for the atrocities, Williams said there should be an acknowledgement by the government that indeed the killings took place.

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