Home » Governance » Gukurahundi – Mphoko Must Apologise, Says Lobby Group

PRESSURE continues to pile on embattled Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko over his “insensitive” comments regarding one of the darkest periods in post-independent Zimbabwe.

Mphoko has come under a barrage of attacks after the state media published an interview in which he tried to absolve President Robert Mugabe of any wrongdoing in the 1980s Gukurahundi genocide that is said to have claimed the lives of more than 20,000 people in the first decade of independence.

In a statement this week, post-conflict lobby group, Heal Zimbabwe Trust, demanded that Mphoko issues a public apology for claiming that a conflict Mugabe described as a “moment of madness” was in fact a Western conspiracy.

“Heal Zimbabwe is greatly concerned with the recent insensitive public remarks made by vice president Mphoko on Gukurahundi,” said the lobby group.

“The organisation believes that the victims and survivors of Gukurahundi deserve a remorseful apology than insults from the vice president.

“Truth telling is one of the key pillars of Transitional Justice, but the vice president who is also the Minister responsible for National Healing and Reconciliation has decided to ignore the truth and manipulate facts towards his unpardonable selfish interests.

“As the voice of survivors and victims of violence, Heal Zimbabwe implores political leaders and the Government to encourage truth telling -objective truth, narrative truth and forensic truth”.

The organisation continued: “… in the hearts and souls of the victims and survivors of violence, the VP’s insensitive remarks affirm his unfitting importance to lead the National Healing and Reconciliation portfolio.

“In fact, the challenge that stands in the way for true National Healing and Reconciliation is that the institutions and systems that perpetrated violence, torture and gross human rights violence have become the attempted spokespersons of the survivors.”

Instead of forcing Zimbabweans to accept and forget the massacres, Mphoko should acknowledge attrocities and offer a public apology on behalf of the government.

“Instead of making a public apology for and on behalf of the current Government and the then ruling party, the state has decided to call the genocide a ‘conspiracy’.

“The Gukurahundi massacre is a test case -by refusing to acknowledge and offer a public apology, the Government in a way is forcing people to forget the atrocities without healing their wounds. However, only healed living memories of individuals and the public are vital in facilitating transitional justice,” reads the statement.

“VP Mphoko, justifying the death of over 20 000 people under the guise of a conspiracy that never was – is intolerable, particularly in a country that purports to be democratic.

“To worsen matters, the shocking remarks come at a time when the 2008 survivors of political violence and torture are eagerly waiting for justice from the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).”

Mugabe’s government has over the years dithered on capacitatating the NPRC and fought hard to have the body stopped from investigating rights abuses that happened before 2009 that would have included Gukurahundi.

Source : New Zimbabwe