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Zimbabwe's Moyo Wants To Memorialize Post-Independence Purge

Former Zimbabwean information minister Jonathan Moyo, who represents the Matabeleland North constituency of Tsholotsho in parliament, is said to be preparing legislation that would compensate the victims of the post-independence purge carried out in the Matabeleland region against loyalists of the late Joshua Nkomo.

Moyo could not be reached for comment, but parliamentary sources said he had been lobbying support for a private member's bill called the Gukurahundi Memorial Bill.

The bill seeks compensation for victims of the killings of civilians in the early 1980s by a special army unit known as Gukurahundi, after a word in the Shona language that means "the early rain that washes away the chaff before the spring rains."

According to the Wikipedia, the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade swept through the Ndebele-speaking Matabeleland and Midlands provinces between 1982 and 1985, killing thousands of civilians presumed loyal to Zimbabwe African People's Union leader Joshua Nkomo, rival of then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.

Factional and inter-ethnic violence was brought to an end in 1987 with the signing of a Unity Accord under which alleged dissidents were granted amnesty. Mugabe became president and Nkomo became vice president, serving until his death in 1999.

Moyo's bill would make it a crime to deny the Gukurahundi atrocities. It would also call for the establishment of a Gukurahundi national memorial board and museum.

Political commentator and Zimbabwe Open University journalism lecturer Jethro Mpofu told reporter Chris Gande of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Moyo's Gukurahundi bill is likely to garner support from the political opposition.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...