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Ziyambi Called To Order Over Gukurahundi Remarks

The National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) has condemned utterances made by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi at the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in Geneva Switzerland last week.

Addressing the UN meeting, Ziyambi said there shall never be any arrests carried out on those who killed and maimed thousands during the Gukurahundi massacres as the culprits were long forgiven by then state President Robert Mugabe.

Speaking to journalists in Harare on Thursday, NTJWG Vice Chairperson Dzikamai Bere said Ziyambi’s remarks show that the Government has no intention of redressing the Matabeleland massacres.

“The Minister’s statement reflects that the Government has no intention of redressing the Gukurahundi massacres, which he loosely referred to as mere ‘disturbances’. He stated that the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), whose constitutional mandate is to deal with post-conflict justice has no mandate to deal with the mass atrocities which occurred during the Gukurahundi. Minister Ziyambi stated that the government has no mandate to prosecute perpetrators of human rights violations due to the broad amnesty declared by former President Robert Mugabe under Clemency Order 1 of 1990,” said Bere.

The group said Mugabe’s order did not decide on responsibility and fairness on issues relating to the massacres and President Mnangagwa has confirmed the same.

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“Our position is that the amnesty granted through Clemency Order1 of 1990 did not resolve justice and accountability issues relating to the Gukurahundi massacres. This position has also been affirmed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has openly declared the need to address this issue, albeit through the engagement of chiefs,” Bere added.

NTJWG said peace and reconciliation efforts are and should always be citizen driven, not led by the State.

“The NTJWG recognises the efforts made by the NPRC Commissioners through the public consultations, which showed that Gukurahundi was one of the three priority issues raised by citizens. It is, therefore, improper for the government or any minister to unilaterally decide the resolution of a pertinent peace and reconciliation without getting an insight from the survivors,” said Bere.

The group called on the government to immediately censure Ziyambi’s pronouncement, make a public apology to the victims and survivors of Gukurahundi and to stop undermining the role of the NPRC as well as capacitate the commission to enable justice ands closure to victims and survivors.

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