‘We can never go back to the past’: Mnangagwa on Gukurahundi Genocide

The Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has scoffed attempts to deal with Zimbabwe’s bleeding scar of a tribal Gukurahundi Genocide that was perpetrated by the Zimbabwean Mugabe led government from 1982 – 1987 and massacred over 20,000 civilians in Matabeleland and part of Midlands. Emmerson Mnangagwa was also a Minister during the genocide government. In a interview with Financial Times Mnangagwa (who was quoted in Zimbabwean media during the genocide era saying the people of Matabeleland need to be exterminated with an insecticide DDT) poured ice water on any prospects of his government addressing the genocide issue in earnest and frantically refused to offer an apology for the genocide – which the people of Matabeleland have for years been calling for.

Emmerson Mnangagwa pictured with Robert Mugabe during happy days

Below is a a transcript of the interview as extracted from the full interview on: https://www.ft.com/content/b5bcf4b2-fd13-11e7-9b32-d7d59aace167

The past

Q: Have you considered on behalf of Zimbabwe formally acknowledging what happened in Matabeleland? And even making an apology?

A: Not as an individual. Though the incidents, the commission or omission of that period by the government of the day, of that period, both are to the former vice-president, Joshua Nkomo, and the former president, Mugabe, they have pronounced themselves on behalf of the administration of the day, that it was a moment of madness. And as a result of that position we all came together, all sides came together, and agreed on the Unity Accord, and put this thing behind us. And any individual complaints or need for assistance can be treated that way. So that it can be attended to like any other citizen in the country. That will be done. We have passed the bill called the National Healing and Reconciliation Bill, that’s passed, I signed it into law. That will be a platform where these complaints or challenges can be addressed, and they were taking elderly people from the entire community, who are elderly, who can deal with these issues. And advise use precisely on these issues, this is how we can deal it, and how we can handle these issues. So, but overall we don’t want to live in the past. We can never go back to the past. We need, from the past we must carry on what is good. But never what is bad. We must promote that which is good and go into the future expounding on love, unity, hard work. That’s what we need now.

Q: But if you acknowledge the past, don’t you think that will make it even easier to move forward?

A: This is what I’m saying. From the past we must take the good that the past has in our history. And leave behind that which is bad. We don’t want that to be repeated, ever, this is what I am saying. You follow?

(Gukurahundi is a Shona name which means the storm that washed away the chaff)

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