Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications), George Charamba says the erection of Gukurahundi Memorial Plaques at the Bhalangwe mass grave was unlawful.
Bhalagwe is the Gukurahundi epicentre where thousands of mostly Ndebele-speaking Zimbabweans were murdered and reportedly thrown into the disused Antelope Mine at the height of the massacres in the 1980s
The memorial plaques were erected by Ibetshu Likazulu, a pressure group advocating for the recognition of the Gukurahundi victims
However, the three of them have all been vandalised with the latest one being bombed by unknown people with the group accusing state security agents of caring about the heinous act.
In an interview with Bulawayo based publication, CITE, Charamba said, to begin with, the erection of the plaque was an unlawful act as it is not in tangent with the government’s policy.
“I think a criminal act was committed when an act was done out of the policy and the state was indifferent.
“You don’t just in a sovereign country with a competent government just go and erect a monument in a community without involving the state. Where is that done? We are not a lawless society,” Charamba said.
Commenting on the recent vandalism of the plaque, Charamba said the state had nothing to do with it and warned that the pressure group must not erect the plaques in future.
“Let that be very clear, they should never (erect plaques). It’s unlawful. So if anything becomes of that unlawful deed, it can’t be a problem of the state to explain on what basis, it’s an unlawful deed.
“‘You take a risk which is an unlawful step, you live with the consequences and deal with those whatever becomes of it, it’s their business isn’t they feel strongly about it outside state parameters,” Charamba warned.
He further said the groups calling for the remembrance of Gukurahundi should, if need be, contest elections and win then establish policies that will allow for the erection of the plaques.
“You can’t expect the police to police illegality or to account for it when it gets demolished, on what basis? From your little hovel, you stand up to say you are going to raise a monument, as who?
“Why don’t you win elections and establish your own government where you can do that? You put your squatter camp along Umguza River and it’s raised to the ground by your girlfriend or boyfriend, you expect the police to be on standby to protect you?” Charamba charged.