Zimbabwean government set to compensate victims of Mugabe-era massacre


Zimbabwe’s present administration announced on Saturday that it will begin talks regarding compensation for victims of a horrific 1980s massacre that occurred while former President Robert Mugabe was in power. 

According to the announcement, some victims will be unearthed and reburied according to local customs.

The announcement came after President Emmerson Mnangagwa and tribal chiefs met to discuss long-standing issues over the so-called Gukurahundi massacres.

According to rights groups, Mugabe used a North Korean-trained military battalion to suppress a mutiny in newly independent Zimbabwe’s southwestern region of Matabeleland beginning in 1983.

According to the Zimbabwe Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, they killed an estimated 20 000 individuals over several years, a figure backed up by Amnesty International.

The majority of the fatalities belonged to the Ndebele tribe, which is a minority in South Africa.

“Gukurahundi” is Shona for “the early rain that washes away the chaff before the spring rain”.

At the time, Mnangagwa was the country’s security minister.

Mnangagwa issued a statement in which he backed the National Council of Chiefs’ compensation recommendations and promised close dialogue with all parties involved.

Exhumations and reburials should be handled on a case-by-case basis, according to the president, while keeping in mind local customs. 

Over the last year, Mnangagwa has conducted multiple meetings to try to settle the difficulties that have arisen as a result of the Gukurahundi atrocities.

Mugabe, who died in 2019, refused to accept responsibility for the atrocities, describing the evidence presented by Amnesty International as “a mountain of lies.”

Educator, writer and legal researcher at Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy.

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