Matabeleland chiefs divided on Gukurahundi

Outspoken Chief Khulumani Mathema of Gwanda has taken a swipe at some traditional leaders in Matabeleland who are silent on the Gukurahundi atrocities.

Speaking during a memorial service of 22 Tsholotsho villagers from Emkhonyeni who were bundled into a hut and burnt to death by the Fifth Brigade on March 16, 1983, Chief Mathema said traditional leaders from the region are divided over the emotive issue.

He said there are concerted efforts to have the Gukurahundi issue buried with the past.

“Where I come from, people want to talk about it but some other people from other areas are saying it’s an issue that has passed, we are divided as Chiefs we are not speaking with one voice.

“I would like to encourage you as the people because you have the power, the chief that seems to be out of line should be brought back, there is no chief without the people and being a chief does not mean one is more knowledgeable than the people you are ruling,” said Chief Mathema.

Chief Mathema added that some Matabeleland chiefs are concerned with other issues happening in other provinces while forgetting issues affecting their own region.

“Some chiefs are speaking of issues in Harare; we want people to talk about issues that affect us in Matabeleland. Even the Gukurahundi issue is not a small thing, some people can only look at the massive killings but it’s continuing, some people have been told that Ndebeles are not educated but it is due to Gukurahundi effects,” he said.

“The Gukurahundi killings were bad and if we had listening leaders, they were going to allow the discussions with the people leading the discussion not the Government or other chiefs who do not listen.”

Chief Mathema said currently there is a gap in traditional leadership and there is a need for people in the Matabeleland region to unite.

“Let us unite and have what we call leadership because currently there is a vacuum in leadership, no one is going to help us if we don’t act, no one will come from another country to assist us with our issue.

“If we have to arm ourselves to fight this problem, we should do that, we don’t want other people to control our matters while we are still alive, if we forget who we are, we will be left without land and leadership. We are the ones to direct people coming from other areas of what we want,” he said.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)

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