Ibhetshu Likazulu, a Bulawayo based pressure group advocating for Gukurahundi victims’ reparation, has slammed government for its decision to construct an expensive mausoleum for late former President Robert Mugabe at the National Heroes Acre’s hilltop while scores of the atrocities’ victims remained unburied.
Mugabe, who died in Singapore some nine days ago, will only be buried upon the completion of the shrine.
Ibhetshu Likazulu leader, Mbuso Fuzwayo said he was shocked that government continued to prioritise Mugabe in death yet it was doing nothing to thousands who lost their lives as a result of the atrocities.
An estimated 20 000 civilians died in the hands of the military which was deployed in Midlands and Matebeleland provinces soon after independence by then Prime Minister Mugabe to ostensibly hunt down some army dissidents who were seen as sympathetic to then opposition PF ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo.
The army crackdown has been viewed by many as a brutal ethnic cleansing act that targeted Ndebeles by Mugabe.
“It is unfortunate that we Africans prioritise an individual over a nation. When Mugabe was alive, a lot of money was spent on him and his family at the expense of the suffering masses especially those who were affected by Gukurahundi.
“It is embarrassing that 36 years after independence, nothing has been done to compensate and improve their lives yet the government continues to pamper Mugabe with unnecessary things in his death,” Fuzwayo told NewZimbabwe.com.
Fuzwayo said instead of constructing Mugabe a mausoleum, the government should have channelled that money towards the erection of memorial plagues at Bhalagwe in memory of thousands of people the late President killed.
“We have got a lot of Gukurahundi victims who are not yet buried. For example, at Bhalagwe we have a whole disused mine shaft with thousands of Gukurahundi victims. Why not build a mausoleum for those people?” said the activist.
Ibhetshu Likazulu has called for the establishment of a Gukurahundi Genocide museum at Balagwe.
Fuzwayo’s sentiments were also echoed by Zapu spokesperson, Ipithule Maphosa.
“The Zanu PF government is trying to appease Mugabe in his death for the coup which they did to him. A lot people died under Mugabe’s rule and some of them have not been properly buried up to now. That mausoleum is not necessary especially when the country is facing serious economic challenges which are a result of Zanu PF’s misrule,” said Maphosa.