No DNA analysis on exhumed bodies

HARARE - Zanu (PF) has declined to have DNA analysis to identify the 260 excavated bodies it claims are genocide victims from the Smith regime.

The Fallen Heroes of Zimbabwe Trust claims the bodies, excavated from a disused mine in Ruya village, Mt Darwin, are victims of Ian Smith’s genocide, but there is widespread suspicion that the bodies are in fact victims of Zanu (PF)’s 2008 genocide, when the party agents slaughtered MDC supporters.

Curiously, Zanu (PF) has identified the bones and even attached names to some of them, although there has been no DNA matching done. Its not clear how Zanu (PF) has managed to do this, given that human remains were buried in a mass grave, making positive identifications difficult.

The Trust, which operates from the Zanu (PF) headquarters, claims it was formed to help government to identify victims of wartime conflicts. The spokesman, Gumisiro Dhliwayo, told The Zimbabwean its primary role was to ensure the cooperation of governments in locating and identifying those who had disappeared during armed conflict or as a result of human rights violations. But the Trust has defied calls to carry out a similar exhumation at Bhalagwe Camp in Matabeleland where Gukurahundi victims are buried in a mass grave.

Methuseli Moyo, spokesperson for Zapu, said while it was commendable to rebury victims of genocide, his party was surprised at the selective exhumations. “Gukurahundi was worse,” Moyo said, adding Mugabe did not want to acknowledge the atrocities committed by his own army in Matabeleland where an estimated 20,000 people were killed.

Given widespread scepticism, journalists were eager to use DNA as a first step in the identification of missing persons to corroborate Zanu (PF)’s Mt Darwin claims. By matching DNA from blood of living relatives to DNA from bones of exhumed remains, it is easy to identify large numbers of missing persons.

Zanu (PF) has used the bodies to ratchet up propaganda against “imperialism and colonialism.” Chief Exhumer of the Trust, Jimmy Motsi said there were still more than 400 bodies in the mine shaft.

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