Vice President Mphoko must apologise for Gukurahundi remarks

Heal Zimbabwe is greatly concerned with the recent insensitive public remarks made by Vice President Mphoko on Gukurahundi. The organisation believe that the victims and survivors of Gukurahundi deserve a remorseful apology than insults from the Vice President.

Truth telling is one of the key pillars of Transitional Justice, but the Vice President who is also the Minister responsible for National Healing and Reconciliation has decided to ignore the truth and manipulate facts towards his unpardonable selfish interests. As the voice of survivors and victims of violence, Heal Zimbabwe implores political leaders and the Government to encourage truth telling –objective truth, narrative truth and forensic truth.

In the hearts and souls of the victims and survivors of violence, the VP’s insensitive remarks affirm his unfitting importance to lead the National Healing and Reconciliation portfolio. In fact, the challenge that stands in the way for true National Healing and Reconciliation is that the institutions and systems that perpetrated violence, torture and gross human rights violence have become the attempted spokespersons of the survivors.

Instead of making a public apology for and on behalf of the current Government and the then ruling party, the state has decided to call the genocide a “conspiracy”. The Gukurahundi massacre is a test case –by refusing to acknowledge and offer a public apology, the Government in a way is forcing people to forget the atrocities without healing their wounds. However, only healed living memories of individuals and the public are vital in facilitating transitional justice.

VP Mphoko, justifying the death of over 20 000 people under the guise of conspiracy –that never was –is intolerable, particularly in a country that purports to be democratic. To worsen matters, the shocking remarks come at a time when the 2008 survivors of political violence and torture are eagerly waiting for justice from the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).

In the strict sense, Heal Zimbabwe strongly opposes any attempts to force the masses to forget the past without thorough truth telling, justice, healing and reconciliation. The organisation implores Public Office bearers and Government leaders to desist from manipulating the truth at the expense of the masses. The trauma that the Gukurahundi victims suffered, directly or otherwise, continues to haunt their lives. Therefore, the NPRC must be expeditiously established and the Government must be committed to full transitional justice without distortions to history.

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