Human rights activists in Matabeleland have vowed to block National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) spokesperson Obert Gutu from visiting the region after his recent claims that Gukurahundi was a “tiny fraction” of issues that the commission would deal with.
In June this year, Gutu belittled the emotive 1980s Gukurahundi issue where over 20 000 civilians were butchered in cold blood in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
When asked about the peace and reconciliation issues that the NPRC would deal with, he described Gukurahundi as “a tiny fraction” of the issues.
His remarks irked people in Matabeleland whose relatives were killed during the genocide.
Last week, Gutu failed to attend the NPRC preventive dialogue provincial peace committee meeting in Bulawayo.
During the Bulawayo meeting, an announcement was made that Gutu was committed elsewhere.
Some participants at the Bulawayo meeting were heard murmuring “lowo asimfuni ngapha” (we do not want to see his face here).
Gutu later told Southern Eye that he was out of the country.
Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo, who has been calling for closure to the Gukurahundi issue, told Southern Eye that it was a relief that Gutu did not show up at the Bulawayo NPRC meeting.
“Following Gutu’s statements, it would have been a shame if he had showed up at the meeting. It would have been an insult to the commission and to him (Gutu),” Fuzwayo said.
Recently Matabeleland traditional leaders and activists called for the resignation of Gutu from the NPRC saying he was conflicted and could not deal with the emotive Gukurahundi issue given his remarks.
Although the NPRC has apologised over Gutu’s gaffe, human rights groups described his statements as retrogressive and malicious to the founding principles of the commission.- Newsday