Gutu 1978 Rhodesian Massacre Survivors Wallow In Poverty

Tens of people who were injured during the infamous Kamungoma massacre by the Rhodesian army on 14 May 1978 in Dewende, Gutu, are bitter after the government abandoned them.

Some of the victims are living with bullets lodged in their bodies, and are still waiting for Government compensation 41 years after independence.


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105 civilians including one ZANLA combatant were killed in one of the worst liberation war massacres inside Zimbabwe.

The attack by the Rhodesian Army which lasted more than two hours happened at a pungwe (night gathering) attended by 300 people from surrounding Dewende farms, Chimombe and Chiwara Villages.

The survivors who spoke to Masvingo Mirror said most of their colleagues died over the years from war wounds and they did not receive any assistance including State assisted burials.

The MP for Gutu East, Berita Chikwama said she was aware of the problems facing Kamungoma war victims adding that there is a debate currently going on at the highest level and the issue of their allowances would soon be addressed.

The survivors are now regretting their support for the war because there has been no rest for them since 1978.

One angry woman, Monia Tarutira said she lost three relatives on the night, her daughter, her sister-in-law and the sister-in law’s child.

She said it would have been better for her daughter to be a sex worker than a war collaborator. Said Tarutira:

What kind of treatment is that? Dozens of people continued to die here for the last 43 years from injuries sustained during the attack.

The Government did not take care of their medication or assist with burials. I get very hurt when I think of this and this is the reason why I came here to talk to you.

It would be better had my daughter been a sex worker than a war collaborator. At least sex workers support their parents.

Her grave is just a bush, Government has been making promises to build graves for Kamungoma War Victims but as usual, it is just a promise.

My daughter once came to me in a dream and told me not to worry because she was going to fight. I am still waiting to see her fight.

Kamungoma War Victims chairperson Vongai Mapfumo said there were just a few victims who were compensated after the war and they include herself, her mother Patricia Mapfumo and Petros Makwanya who lives with a bullet lodged next to his brain.

The three who are getting compensation from Government are just receiving an allowance of ZWL$3 000 which is equivalent to US$20 at the market rate.

Tens of war victims with various degrees of disability ranging from 20 to 70% have not been compensated.

Some have bullets lodged in different parts of their bodies, others suffered multiple fractures and can barely walk let alone do basic work like tending to their fields or carry 5 litres of water.

More: Masvingo Mirror

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