|THE commission of inquiry set up to investigate the post poll violence that took place in Harare on August 1,is likely to receive a frosty welcome in Bulawayo, Friday, when they conduct the second round of public hearings.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa established the seven member commission led by former South Africa president Kgalema Motlanthe to investigate the post-election violence that left six civilians dead.
The commission has already conducted public hearings in Harare and will also visit Gweru this Saturday.
Activists and political parties in the city told CITE that it was insensitive for the commission to hold hearings in Bulawayo for people killed in Harare when such action had not been taken to look into the 1980s Gukurahundi killings that claimed more than 20 000 in Matabeleland and Midlands.
ZAPU spokesperson, Ipithule Maphosa said the commission’s visit was unnecessary, especially if it omitted Gukurahundi.
“We do commiserate with the rest of the country over the killings that took place in Harare but we also wonder why the Montlante commission is coming to Bulawayo when the shootings they are investigating only happened in Harare,” he said.
“We are, however, not surprised because we know their reasons for coming here is to make more money from allowances. The commission has quickly learnt from Zanu PF and mastered the art of abusing and looting Zimbabweans funds. There is no other reason for them to undertake such a costly trip”.
Maphosa claimed the commission’s visit to Bulawayo was an insult to the people of Matabeleland as well as the victims of Gukurahundi.
“Thirty years have passed while people in Matabeleland and Midlands are still waiting for closure after the genocide. No step has been taken by the government. How the government ignores tens of thousands deaths at the hands of the army, only to spring to action for six people speaks volumes about a government whose only preoccupation is power amassing and retention,” he added.
His view was echoed by Alliance for National Salvation (ANSA) secretary general, Nketha Mangoye Dlamini, who claimed the commission inquiry would serve no relevance to Bulawayo.
“As ANSA, we belief the Monlanthe commission should have confined its investigations in Harare where the killings happened. If they felt that someone in Bulawayo or Gweru might have information concerning the shootings, the best thing was to place an advert and ask those people with evidence to come to Harare. Since most people in Bulawayo are a bit divorced from what happened Harare, they will certainly raise Gukurahundi issues, which directly affects them,” Dlamini said.
The ANSA secretary general predicted that the commission would likely face hostile reception from people in Matabeleland particularly relatives and survivors of Gukurahundi.
Former cabinet minister and now Public Policy Research Institute of Zimbabwe (PPRIZ) director, Dr Gorden Moyo, expressed a different view and said the commission was well in its mandate to come to Bulawayo.
But, he did say the 1980s atrocities would also prop up in the hearings as thousands of people in the country’s southern region were killed by the military as well.
“The hearings on callous, criminal and cruel murder of innocent citizens are welcome in any part of the country including Bulawayo. For Bulawayo, these hearings should serve as a precursor to the much awaited hearings on the atrocious activities of the 1980s,” he noted.
Dr Moyo noted he was sure people in Bulawayo and Gweru would speak less about the Harare events of 5 August, which they did not experience but more about the Gukurahundi genocide, which they have to contend with its recurring impact everyday.
“The people of Bulawayo, Matabeleland and Midlands provinces and indeed all Zimbabweans of conscience have a legitimate expectation that the current hearings will act as a launch pad for the bigger, broader and comprehensive programme of unearthing the hidden truths about the fate of the 20 000 victims of the 5th brigade,” he said.