‘Independent Complaints Commission must address Gukurahundi atrocities’

Gwanda residents have called for the soon to be established Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission to address the Gukurahundi massacres and bring closure to the emotive issue.

The Parliament of Zimbabwe’s three thematic committees on Defence, Home Affairs and security services, Legal Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and Peace and Security are on a nationwide public hearing on the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Bill, which was gazetted on November 24 last year.

If approved the bill will enable complaints from citizens against members of the security services to be investigated in line with constitutional requirements.

Speaking during a consultative meeting, Wednesday, Linda Mpofu told the parliamentarians that the Gukurahundi issue must be tackled by the Independent Complaints Commission.

“This Independent Complaints Commission must address all violations dating back from 1980, including Gukurahundi right up to 2008. It has to also cater for people with disability by including them in the commission. Thirdly, I want the commission to be fully funded by the government, not individuals because an individual will run away with it and be immune to prosecution,” appealed Mpofu.

Another senior citizen, Sithabile Tshuma concurred with Mpofu saying all cases must be afforded a fair trial.

Clause 13 of the bill provides that an aggrieved party may complain to the Commission in writing. The complaint must be submitted within three years of the act complained of, provided that the matter is not the subject of any court proceedings.

The clause further provides that the Commission may prescribe the form in which complaints are lodged, although it may not refuse to handle complaints solely on the basis that they are not in the prescribed form.

“The commission states that our cases shall be dealt with within a period of three years meaning that Gukurahundi issues won’t be addressed,” said Tshuma.

The Gukurahundi massacres were carried out in the 1980s by North Korea Fifth Brigade. According to human rights groups, the army unit killed over 20 000 people in Matabeleland and Midlands regions.

The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) which has been tasked with addressing the atrocities has been accused by some human rights activists of being too compromised to deal with the matter.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology

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