Calls grow for Gukurahundi justice

Hundreds of Zimbabweans over the weekend added their voices to calls for justice for the Gukurahundi genocide, during the launch of a new lobby group in South Africa.

The group, the Gukurahundi Genocide Victims for Justice (GGV4J), was launched on Saturday at the Hillbrow Recreation Centre in Johannesburg. Hundreds of Zimbabwean exiles gathered to support the group, which aims to lobby for the trial of perpetrators of the Gukurahundi massacres, and the exhumation and reburial of the victims’ remains.

Speaking at the GGV4J launch the organisation’s chairperson, Magugu Khumalo, said the group would campaign for delivery of justice for the estimated 20,000 victims in the 1980s, which was only last year officially classified as “genocide”.

“How can Gukurahundi be a closed chapter when the blood of our dead relatives is still boiling, when the bones of our relatives are lying everywhere without proper burial?” Khumalo said.

Khumalo continued by saying that the GGV4J would campaign for the reburial of the victims and pursue litigation against the perpetrators of the genocide.

“We need to have those who died reburied; we need to bury our dear departed according to our own customs. We need to identify and engage with the survivors of Gukurahundi. There are a lot among us even here now. We are going to set up a platform where these survivors will come upfront and tell their stories to the whole world,” she said.

The calls for justice come as civil society is being urged to push the debate for Transitional Justice in Zimbabwe, which analysts say is not being prioritised by the government. A recent report on Transitional Justice by the Zim Human Rights NGO forum found that a significant portion of society has experience violence, with almost complete impunity on the side of the aggressor.

Independent political analyst Leon Hartwell told SW Radio Africa that “the biggest mistake that Zimbabweans can make is to assume that an election, even if it is free and fair, will solve all your problems.” He said at this juncture, it was important to prioritise the transitional justice debate and work on how to move that process forward, calling it vital for the country’s future.

“If you don’t link these processes of election and justice, it will be difficult to imagine that Zimbabwe will experience long-term stability,” Hartwell said.

He added: “It is important for civil society to push the transitional debate. You can anticipate resistance and don’t expect to please everyone on what the final product will look like.”

SW Radio Africa News

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