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MDC: Govt Should Address Gukurahundi, Other Past State Atrocities

FILE: Soldiers beat a supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party of Nelson Chamisa outside the party's headquarters as they await the results of the general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, Aug. 1, 2018.
FILE: Soldiers beat a supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party of Nelson Chamisa outside the party's headquarters as they await the results of the general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, Aug. 1, 2018.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Nelson Chamisa says there is need to address past and present atrocities committed by the Rhodesian and Zimbabwean government in order to realize peace and justice in the southern African nation.

In a statement to mark the 1987 Unity Accord signed by PF Zapu and Zanu PF, the MDC said there is no democracy, peace and justice in Zimbabwe resulting in lack of unity among locals.

“The liberation icon, Joshua Nkomo, said at the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987, ‘… unity is not just the signing of documents, unity is what follows.’ What has followed is a country at odds with its own ideals, a country that speaks the rhetoric of unity yet its citizens are imprisoned by deeply rooted divisions made worse by the government’s inability to acknowledge the trauma and suffering of its citizens.”

The MDC said the injustices of the past continue to be swept under the carpet. “The colonial era injustices, the liberation war era injustices, and post-independence injustices must all be negated through a national process of truth telling, nation building, national healing and rehabilitative restorative justice.

“The Gukurahundi atrocities remain glossed over and dismissed as mere ‘disturbances’ while the victims continue to live with the trauma of unhealed wounds left to fester through insincerity and negligence. The very fabric of the Zimbabwean dream continues to be eroded by the plague of greed and corruption as our people languish in poverty and hunger.”

The party further noted that Operation Murambatsvina (Clear the Filth) launched on May 19, 2005, in which police burnt, bulldozed and destroyed tens of thousands of properties around the country, left thousands of people homeless and hopeless.

At the same time “violent elections and politically instigated violence have left many dead and wounded.”

According to the MDC, government policies have eroded the peoples' savings and wealth as pensioners have been left without any cushion against the “brutality of the harsh economic circumstances.”

As a result, the party said, “This is not unity. True peace and reconciliation require us to sincerely address the divisions in our society, to give voice to those who are marginalised and oppressed, to work together in common purpose to ensure the promises of liberation are enjoyed by every single Zimbabwean without fear or favour. Until this day comes, we cannot claim to be united or free.

“We cannot preach unity when we pursue economic policies that widen the divide between the rich and the poor. We have seen the imposition of austerity measures that punish the poor, for the mistakes made by the selfish, ruling elite. These economic policies do not unite us. They divide us. Inequality is growing. It’s one of the biggest threats to the security of our country, and to our unity as a people. This is not the unity Joshua Nkomo signed for.”

The MDC said unity should be beyond just the unity of parties or its leaders.

“It must be a unity of all people of our beautiful Zimbabwe in vision, ideals, values and destiny. We must all build the Zimbabwe we deserve and want-the shared Zimbabwean dream.”

Dialogue for unity, peace and development is currently being discussed in Zimbabwe through the Political Leaders Actors Dialogue (POLAD), a brainchild of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Chamisa’s party refused to join the dialogue stating that Mnangagwa was not properly elected as the leader of Zimbabwe in the 2018 general elections. The Electoral Court declared Mnangagwa the winner even though the MDC has refused to recognize him as president.

In a tweet, the Ministry of Information noted that Mnangagwa wants POLAD to be the only platform for dialogue.

He is quoted by the ministry as having told former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who has been engaging all political parties in Zimbabwe of late, that dialogue can only be done through POLAD.

“I explained to him (Cde Mbeki) that for dialogue, we have a platform where every political party freely can come into that platform including MDC under Chamisa. Polad is the only platform where political dialogue will take place.

“I discussed with Cde Mbeki that we can’t have two platforms for discussing the same issues. There is only one platform and that platform is POLAD and I am not moving from that.”

Chamisa has already noted that his party won’t be part of POLAD.