Mnangagwa says government can help rebury victims of Gukurahundi
HARARE – Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa today said the government, through the Ministry of Home Affairs, can assist to rebury Gukurahundi victims if there are any remains that need proper burial.
He was responding to a question by non-constituency Member of Parliament Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga who wanted to know how the government is handling the issue of decent burials for victims of Gukurahundi- the 1980s massacre of civilians mainly in Matebeleland during the civil strife in the region.
She said villagers from Matebeleland had noticed that people in Mashonaland were reburying people that died during the liberation struggle and were not properly buried and wanted to know how they can go about exhuming the bodies of people killed during Gukurahundi and reburying them.
Mnangagwa said this was the job of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“If there are remains that need to be reburied, that can be done by that ministry,” he said.
Mnangagwa has largely been blamed for the massacres. He was Minister of State Security at the time.
The commander of the army at the time, Solomon Mujuru, who was known as Rex Nhongo at the time, was largely absolved though it has now emerged that he was informed about the massacres but did nothing.
+HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Hon. Vice President, Hon. Mnangagwa. How is the Government handling the issue of deceased people especially those who died during the Gukurahundi period to have proper reburials like what we have seen happening here in Mashonaland, they were reburied properly. I have noticed that there are people who are trying to rebury those people properly and have a proper burial place for them. If that is what the villagers want to do, they want to find out from the Government how they can go about exhuming the bodies and reburying those people properly.
*THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA): I want to thank the Hon. Member for her question that is in connection with those that are able to rebury those that were not properly buried. It could be that they know that here in Mashonaland, the war veterans are going around the country looking for their fellow veterans who were not properly buried and reburying them. We cannot order these war veterans to do that but this can be done by the Ministry of Home Affairs. They have a department that could deal with that. If there are remains that need to be reburied, that can be done by that Ministry.
+HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I do not know whether you understood the question. I said those who died during the Gukurahundi period. There are a lot of people who were killed during the Gukurahundi period. I am saying the villagers want the bodies to be exhumed and reburied properly, how can they go about it.
*HON. E. MNANGAGWA: If my niece was listening properly, I have said that all those whose remains have not been properly buried all over the country, all such matters should be referred to the Ministry of Home Affairs, they are the relevant authority that deal with such issues. I thank you.