Zimbabwe’s former war veterans minister Tshinga Dube has reportedly said that “there is little” that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government can do to address the issue pertaining to the Gukurahundi massacres that took place in the Matabeleland region in the 1980s.
At least 20 000 civilians were reportedly killed by an army unit unleashed on Matabeleland and Midlands provinces by then prime minister Robert Mugabe, as his government hunted down perceived PF-Zapu armed dissidents.
Mnangagwa was accused of being part of the massacres as he was the state security minister at the time.
A Daily News report indicated that several rights groups and academics had since called for a truth and reconciliation commission over the massacres. They argued that the matter could not be buried under the carpet as this would only polarise the frosty relations between local tribes that were affected.
Crises in Zimbabwe Coalition said that the government should immediately develop, through inclusive consultation, and roll out a citizen centred national healing and reconciliation programme.
However, according to NewsDay, speaking to journalists over the weekend, Dube said that the issue of the mass killings could be best handled by traditional leaders than politicians and academics.
Tshinga maintained that traditional leaders should come together to address the often controversial issue as they were spiritual issues involved.
“For me, Gukurahundi is more spiritual than political or academic. The chiefs must come together to lead all traditional or ritual processes to appease the spirits of the dead. I don’t think the politicians can deal with Gukurahundi, they can only facilitate the way it is handled,’ Dube was quoted as saying.
He also said that the atrocities which were once described by then president Robert Mugabe as “a moment of madness” should never be buried under the carpet.
He said:”We want closure, there must be closure. We need to find a way of apologising to the victims.”