A study into the economic cost of Gukurahundi must be undertaken to ensure victims and survivors are compensated after missing out on opportunities such as education and jobs for years, analysts said. To this day, thousands of victims of the mass killings have failed to access education to secure jobs as they do not have much-needed identity documents.
The estimated number of people who have fled to neighbouring South Africa and Botswana to escape poverty due to lack of opportunities in the country is not known.
Of over 3 million Zimbabweans estimated to be living in South Africa, most of them are believed to be from Matabeleland, the region which was hard hit by Gukurahundi.
Analysts said the issuance of identity documents alone will not compensate for the economic losses suffered by the victims as they called on authorities to copy what other countries that have witnessed genocide have done. Bulawayo based commentator Effie Ncube said it was depressing that nothing has been done to redress the damage of economic “genocide” of Gukurahundi.
“This has to be addressed from a holistic point of view. We need a comprehensive approach to estimate the cost of Gukurahundi and for that to be effectively done you need an independent body that will enable evidence and other issues to be packaged in a way that will address the economic pains,” Ncube argued.
“There are people who are skilled in those things not only in Zimbabwe but outside the country who have done it in Rwanda, Yugoslavia and other countries to arrive at the right way of addressing the economic impacts of Gukurahundi.”
Zibusiso Moyo, coordinator of the Lupane Youth Development Trust (LYDT) said it was disheartening that Gukurahundi has birthed poverty out of many victims and their children since there is no deliberate intervention to address issues around economic deprivation caused by the massacres.
“This is the reason why there is perpetual underdevelopment and poverty in the region.
“In fact, the Matabeleland region is more marginalised today than it was during the 1980’s. There is no development intervention that has been done to control or to address the depth of the genocide, economically,” Moyo argued.
Thando Gwinji, the coordinator of the Youth for Innovation Trust (YIT) weighed in arguing issues of economic losses for the Gukurahundi victims cannot be ignored forever to stop the circle of poverty in Matabeleland.
“We have a chunk of people without IDs who ultimately have flocked out of the country denying the region of skilled labourers to lead development. This alone has had a psychological strain on us and our children who also grow up to see greener pastures elsewhere but home,” Gwinji argued.
“For the prosperity of our dear nation, young people from the region should be on every table where the issue of Gukurahundi is discussed. We need secondary and varsity scholarships for youth in the region and strategic investment and funding for young people’s development initiatives.”
National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) commissioner Leslie Ncube was evasive when reached for comment on what the body is doing to find redress economic losses related to Gukurahundi.
“As I have indicated, we are having discussions around all those issues,” Ncube said. The NPRC is charged with finding redress to Gukurahundi.
While President Emmerson Mnangagwa has moved to engage traditional leaders over the emotive issue, discussions have largely centred on exhumations and reburials while ignoring the compensation of victims whose lives has been destroyed economically.
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology