Chief Vezi Maduna Mafu of Fibalusi in Matabeleland South has taken his plea for the setting up of a special commission to investigate the Gukurahundi atrocities to the United Nations (UN).
The senior traditional leader in Matabeleland region recently wrote a damning letter to President Emmerson Mnangagwa urging him to set up a commission to look into the 1980s killings.
In a letter dated 13 November 2018, addressed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Chief Maduna said President Mnangagwa did not respond to his letter hence the decision to approach the powerful intergovernmental body.
“We write requesting an independent commission of inquiry be set up to investigate atrocities which occurred in Matabeleland and Midlands in Zimbabwe, Africa, between 1981 and 1987 immediately after the country gained independence from Britain (sic),” wrote Chief Maduna.
“The atrocities escalated into genocide occasioned by ethnic cleansing agenda targeting the Ndebele people in the Western and central parts of the country (sic)”.
Chief Maduna said there have been efforts in the past to resolve the matter but government has thwarted all efforts.
“The two regions have over the years sought internal resolution of the matter but government of Zimbabwe which is led by the Shona tribes people who were instrumental in the massacre of the innocent civilians has been reluctant to discuss the matter later on to investigate it (sic),” he said.
“The former president Robert Mugabe who was the prime minister at the time set up two commissions to inquire into the atrocities, the Dumbutshena, and the Chihambakwe commissions. The reports were never made public”.
Chief Maduna also fingered President Mnangagwa as one of the perpetrators of the genocide which compromised to set up an “effective and objective commission”.
“It is my considered opinion that since the government of Zimbabwe is led by a Shona tribesman who was highly involved in the perpetration of this crime against humanity; he is seriously compromised to set up an effective and objective commission to look into these atrocities,” he said.
“In fact the government of Zimbabwe has over the years been paying lip service to healing and reconciliation processes whilst actually playing for time to get the matter to be prescribed.
“The matter has only four years left according to the Zimbabwean Constitution to be resolved otherwise it becomes prescribed. Once that happens, it will be difficult if not impossible to seek redress for these injustices”.
The outspoken chief who acknowledged that his health was failing him demanded an apology for the injustices, decent burials for the victims of the genocide and compensation of the survivors.
He also proposed an eighteen member commission of inquiry made up of King Goodwill Zwelithini, Chief Felix Ndiweni, Chief Mathema, Chief Fuyane, Advocate Thuli Madonsela (Former South Africa Public Protector), Dr Gregory Stanton (Genocide Watch President) and Former National Healing minister Moses Mzila Ndlovu.
The other proposed names include Condoleezza Rice (Former United States Secretary of State), a male and female survivor, UN Human rights Chief Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein, a senior CNN investigative journalist, pathologist firm which investigated the Yugoslavia Genocide, pathologist firm who investigated the Jewish Holocaust in German, a sitting female judge at the International Criminal Court of Justice, an Actuary firm (from Israel), President of the UN office on Genocide Prevention and Responsibility to Protect and Mr Nothiwani Dlodlo (Chief Maduna`s personal secretary).
Chief Maduna added that he was willing to sell his livestock to fund the operations of the commission.
“Kindly note as an elderly chief I have only 15 herd of cattle which I am prepared to sacrifice to raise funds for this commission, hence my appeal to your good office to assist with funding to conclude the matter.
“At the meantime I will ask my subjects under my area of jurisdiction to contribute $1 a person towards this noble cause,” he wrote.
He also appealed for the provision of security for chiefs in Matabeleland and his secretary who might be targeted for “kidnapping, torture and mysterious disappearance before we conclude this Ndebeles Genocide which took place in 1981 to 1987”.