The Government says the erection of Gukurahundi memorial plaques at the Bhalangwe mass graves site, Matabeleland South province, was an unlawful act.
The plaque, that was erected recently by pressure group, Ibetshu Likazulu, was bombed last week by suspected state security agents.
Speaking in an interview with CITE, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications), George Charamba, said:
I think a criminal act was committed when an act was done out of the policy and the state was indifferent.
You don’t just in a sovereign country with a competent government just go and erect a monument in a community without involving the state. Where is that done? We are not a lawless society.
You don’t cherry-pick chiefs of the like mind of the activists and say you have chiefs on your side. It doesn’t work like that and we are talking tough on that one.
Charamba said the Government has nothing to do with the destruction of the plaques and will not get involved in the matter. He said:
Let that be very clear, they should never (erect plaques). It’s unlawful. So if anything becomes of that unlawful deed, it can’t be a problem of the state to explain on what basis, it’s an unlawful deed.
You take a risk which is an unlawful step, you live with the consequences and deal with those whatever becomes of it, it’s their business isn’t they feel strongly about it outside state parameters.
We are working on fixing wounds from early independence and if you listened to the President’s statement on the Unity Accord commemorations, we said the negative forces trying to sort of reactivating the spotlight on the conflict must be kept at bay and we meant it.
You can’t expect the police to police illegality or to account for it when it gets demolished, on what basis?
From your little hovel, you stand up to say you are going to raise a monument, as who?
Why don’t you win elections and establish your own government where you can do that?
You put your squatter camp along Umguza River and it’s raised to the ground by your girlfriend or boyfriend, you expect the police to be on standby to protect you?
There has been concern over theft and vandalism of Gukurahundi memorial plaques.
The plaques were erected in memory of thousands of people killed by the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade in the Midlands and Matebeleland provinces between 1982 and 1987.