Special Advisor to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Christopher Mutsvangwa has said that the country needs a break from references to the past such as Gukurahundi, referring to the massacres which occured in Matabeleland and Midlands in the early 1980’s. Government forces were accused of killing an estimated 20 000 people in their hunt for dissidents. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been implicated in the massacres as he was the Minister for State Security while newly appointed Minister of Lands Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Air Marshal Perrance Shiri was the Commander of the Fifth Brigade, during the tumultuous period. Former president Robert Mugabe once describe the Gukurahundi as ” a moment of madness.”
Speaking to the international news agency, Al Jazeera, Mutsvangwa said that every country has a chequered past and that people needed to stop focusing on the past as it distracted from the future. He said that references to the past were “simply unhelpful” and “irresponsible.” Said Mutsvangwa:
Zimbabwe needs a break.
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To continuously re-dig its past, to settle scores from the past, as if it cannot grasp the future … It diverts energy away from what should be done.
Every country followed a tortured history … You make mistakes. You make false starts.
Speaking at his inauguration, President Emmerson Mnangagwa without specifically referring to Gukurahundi said that Zimbabweans needed to move on and to let bygones be bygones. Said Mnangagwa:
As we do so, we should never remain hostages to our past. I thus humbly appeal to all of us that we let bygones be bygones, readily embracing each other in defining a new destiny. The task at hand is that of rebuilding our great country. It principally lies with none but ourselves.
More: Al Jazeera