The Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications), George Charamba, said Matabeland-based pressure groups should not “drag” the Government into commenting on the bombing of a memorial plaque in Bhalagwe, Maphisa Matabeleland South Province.
This comes after a memorial plaque that was erected in October last year by pressure group, Ibetshu Likazulu, which was bombed on 4 January by suspected state security agents.
The plaque was erected at Bhalagwe Concentration Camp to honour victims of the Gukurahundi mass killings.
Speaking in an interview with CITE, Charamba said the activists built the plaque without involving the state, therefore it would not involve itself in the issue because there is a problem now. Said Charamba:
You see those symbols of memorialisation at sites, which by the way, are being arbitrarily chosen by the activists, the erection of those memorials were never done in consultation with the government.
You don’t drag us in a conversation, into a phenomenon that you yourself have created without having the courtesy of informing the state.
There’s a difference between discussing Gukurahundi and trying to raise emotive symbols around it.
Charamba said efforts to resolve the Gukurahundi issue were being led by traditional leaders working together with the Ministry of Local Government and the President’s Office. He said:
On that one let there be clarity, the government’s policy says this is led by chiefs, not a simple one or two chiefs but chiefs collectively in consultation with the Local government, Home Affairs and the President’s office.
He accused the activists of trying to use the Gukurahundi matter to campaign ahead of general elections scheduled for 2023. Charamba said:
There’s nowhere in the government’s policy where it says activists, who have their own eyes on 2023, will lead the process.
It won’t happen and the sooner they realise it the better for everyone these things are being done arbitrarily with a view to making a point and a point that is anti-establishment.
Why do you think a non-player has an obligation to address this issue which doesn’t concern them?
As the state, we are saying we were not consulted, so whatever becomes of that effort following the efforts of self-seeking activists cannot be our business and cannot be our concern.
If you decide to raise a tombstone for your own family, why do you think the state must worry about it?