Some chiefs in Matabeleland South Province have questioned the government’s sincerity in solving the Gukurahundi atrocities after they were detained by police on Sunday while on their way to Bhalagwe in Maphisa, for a Gukurahundi memorial event.
The traditional leaders were part of the delegation led by Ibhetshu LikaZulu, a pressure group, who were initially blocked by the police from proceeding to Bhalagwe before they were cleared after several hours.
Chief Fuyane of Maphisa told CITE that there is an agreement between the chiefs and the government which gives them authority to have meetings and talk about Gukurahundi freely.
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The chief bemoaned the fact that whenever they want to go to Bhalagwe, which bore the brunt of the Fifth Brigade operations as thousands were killed and buried in mass graves, they are stopped. Said Chief Fuyane:
This is the second plaque that is being erected here, and it was installed within our community so who removed it, I am giving you all homework.
I am happy that the government said we must freely talk about Gukurahundi which means this plaque that we are erecting here must be protected by the government, not by people.
This comes after a Gukurahundi memorial plaque erected on Sunday at Bhalagwe in memory of the victims of the 1980s massacres was stolen.
Meanwhile, Chief Mathema from Gwanda said it is important for the affected communities to take control of the processes themselves. He said:
People of Matabeleland together with the Midlands should stand together with one voice and do not expect much from Chiefs as it’s not all of them who talk about Gukurahundi in the meetings.