Representatives of the opposition MDC and human rights civic society addressed the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health policy on “The Future of Zimbabwe”
Here is what the representatives said about Gukurahundi:
Tendai Biti (MDC Alliance)
It is therefore important that the new authorities show signs of commitment to real change. They could, for instance, begin by openly acknowledging and apologizing for the major human rights abuses of the past four decades, in particular the massacres in Matabeleland known as Gukurahundi, the illegal and inhumane urban land clearances of Operation Murambatsvina, and the vicious 2008 post election violence against the opposition and ordinary citizens.
They could for instance order an inquiry into the disappearance of human rights activists, including Patrick Nabanyama and Itai Dzamara, who has been missing since March 2015.
Dewa Mavhinga (Southern Africa Director, Human Rights Watch)
Mnangagwa’s government should be encouraged through public statements to demonstrate commitment to accountability, justice for human rights abuses, and respect for the rule of law in Zimbabwe. We believe that Mnangagwa’s recent calls to “let bygones be bygones” should not extend to serious human rights violations since 1980, many of which implicate the military. The first post-independence overt military involvement in Zimbabwe’s political affairs was during the period from 1982 to 1987 when the government deployed a section of the army, the Fifth Brigade, ostensibly to quell a military mutiny in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces. The Fifth Brigade carried out widespread abuses including torture and unlawful killing of an estimated 20,000 people. In 1988 the government granted amnesty to all those involved in human rights violations committed between 1982 and 1987.
State by Mr Peter Godwin.
Air Marshal Perrance Shiri is elevated to the cabinet too. He was the officer commanding 5th Brigade at the time of the Matabeleland massacres, in the early 1980s.
ZanuPF has long been a vampiric entity, sucking the blood from the nation. Mnangagawa is 75 years-old. He is most unlikely undergo a benign metamorphosis. He has been at the very center of ZanuPF’s repressive security web, until recently Mugabe’s trusted consiglieri. He headed the feared Central Intelligence Organization, the CIO, at the time of the Matableland massacre, during which upwards of 20,000 civilians were killed. And he rolled out the terrible reprisal campaign during the postelection violence of 2008, when thousands of opposition supporters were badly tortured and more than 200 killed. All of these and more besides, were carried out by this same political party, kleptocratic, violent, repressive.