Outrage as police bar Gukurahundi prayer meeting

Archbishop Pius Ncube was one of those stopped from attending the prayer meeting

By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
21 January 2014

Police in Bulawayo have been heavily criticized after they blocked a Gukurahundi prayer meeting which they had initially cleared.

Organised by the Bulawayo-based pressure group Ibhetshu Likazulu the prayer meeting was due to take place on Saturday at the Baptist Church in the city center.

But the event failed to take off after plain clothes police officers pitched up shortly before the start of the meeting and ordered the congregants to disperse. A Monday Southern Eye report quoted organizers saying the police claimed that their intelligence showed that the meeting was not a prayer meeting but a demonstration.

Ibhetshu Likazulu Secretary General, Mbuso Fuzwayo, confirmed the development. In an interview with SW Radio Africa he said the police were on Tuesday still questioning some of their members with regards to the aborted Saturday meeting. He emphasized that the meeting was indeed a prayer meeting for the victims of the genocide and ‘follow up crackdowns on the people of Zimbabwe.’

The police ban enraged the participants, among whom were former Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church Pius Ncube, and former National Healing minister Moses Mzila-dlovu. According to the report Ncube, a fierce critic of the ZANU PF government policies, confronted the police and ‘asked them who they were to stop people from meeting with God.’

Ncube is a leading advocate for justice for the victims of the 1980s Gukurahundi genocide which left an estimated 20,000 people dead.

ZANU PF politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu provoked fury Monday after he was quoted in the Zimbabwe Mail accusing the organizers of the meeting for trying to gain political mileage over the issue of the Gukurahundi. Ndlovu said the issue was ‘dealt with’ a long time ago through the 1987 Unity Accord signed between ZANU PF and PF ZAPU and should not be revived.

Activists from across the country resorted to the social media to heap personal abuse on Ndlovu for his comments which they invariably described as ‘insensitive’ and ‘idiotic.’ An irate Fuzwayo said it was ‘because of the actions of people like Ndlovu’ that it has become difficult to achieve justice for the victims of the Matabeleland massacres.

It is not the first time for the police to stop gatherings to do with Mugabe’s 1980s genocide. In 2012 they stopped a Matobo family from conducting a reburial ceremony of Mvulo Nyathi, who was allegedly beaten to death by the Fifth Brigade in 1984. Two years earlier they had blocked an exhibition by visual artist Owen Maseko depicting the Gukurahundi at the Bulawayo Art Gallery. Maseko was arrested and charged with undermining the authority of the President and ‘causing offence to persons of a particular race.’ The case was then referred to the Constitutional Court after his lawyers argued that criminalizing creative arts was an infringement on Maseko’s right to freedom of expression.

This case has been ongoing and it was last week that the Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku, reserved his ruling after the state conceded that it may not have a case against Maseko.



18 Responsesto “Outrage as police bar Gukurahundi prayer meeting”

  1. Chimbwido Warvet says:

    Any meeting that will open old wounds should not be convened in this country at all. The police were spot on in this instance. Christians do not meet God in the church only. They can pray while at their homes and then drink tea and coffee afterwards. God is everywhere and is where I am right now. That is the God Almighty that I know and pray to everyday. I do not go to church to meet him when I can meet him in my house and everywhere I go. Priests and Bishops should not lie to God the Almighty. Opening old wounds is not being clever at all as people were killed and murdered on both sides.

    We have people in Mashonaland who were murdered by the Matabele during the era of Chief Lobengula, their women and young girls driven to the southern part of this country to be concubines of the Matabele people, their livestock and granaries invaded for purposes of feeding the poverty stricken people of this area and above all to sell our country to the British settlers who ruled this country against the will of the majority for centuries. If the people of Matabeleland feel strongly about people who died during the unreasonable and uncalled for disturbances, perhaps it is high time we open a serious debate on the Shona people who died at the hands of the Matabele people. These were defenceless Shona people who were just slaughtered by foreigners who had left Zululand at the height of the terror reign of Chaka the Zulu King in now the Republic of South Africa.

    • The Black Aristocrat says:

      Lol !! The usual disingenuous nonsense for our resident pseudo intellectual muppet !

      Police allegiance to the state is the expected norm.

      However, what we have here is the utterly corrupt Police and Security Forces selectively applying the law on behalf of a criminal cabel, Mugabe and Zanu PF.

      Mugabe, a mass murderer responsible for the slaughter of at least 20,000 Ndebele in the 1980s, who has spitefully taken his country down with him, in an attempt to distract attention away from his bitterness at his unpopularity.

      No amount of clever words and pretty pretences will ever distract attention from the massacres, torture camps, murders, repression, thieving, greed and contempt for the common man that now defines the tyrant Mugabe and his thuggish Zanu PF party.

      It should always be remembered that tyranny is not a political but a humanitarian issue.

      Sometimes it is possible to love a country and hate a government. With Mugabe and Zanu PF it should be compulsory !

    • The Black Aristocrat says:

      Lol !! The usual disingenuous nonsense for our resident pseudo intellectual muppet !

      Police allegiance to the state is the expected norm.

      However, what we have here is the utterly corrupt Police and Security Forces selectively applying the law on behalf of a criminal cabel, Mugabe and Zanu PF.

      Mugabe, a mass murderer responsible for the slaughter of at least 20,000 Ndebele in the 1980s, who has spitefully taken his country down with him, in an attempt to distract attention away from his bitterness at his unpopularity.

      No amount of clever words and pretty pretences will ever distract attention from the massacres, torture camps, murders, repression, thieving, greed and contempt for the common man that now defines the tyrant Mugabe and his thuggish Zanu PF party.

      It should always be remembered that tyranny is not a political but a humanitarian issue.

      Sometimes it is possible to love a country and hate a government. With Mugabe and Zanu PF it should be compulsory !

    • Common Sense says:

      Again, demonstrating that you are an absolute fool. And always will be.

      The police have no business being in a church breaking up prayers…. and get this into your thick skull, the wounds have not closed in the first place… Mugabe and all his henchmen must and will pay for this genocide….. you cannot equate the historical tribal events you describe with the mass slaughter of blacks AFTER Independence.

      I don’t believe you are a Christian

    • Common Sense says:

      Again, demonstrating that you are an absolute fool. And always will be.

      The police have no business being in a church breaking up prayers…. and get this into your thick skull, the wounds have not closed in the first place… Mugabe and all his henchmen must and will pay for this genocide….. you cannot equate the historical tribal events you describe with the mass slaughter of blacks AFTER Independence.

      I don’t believe you are a Christian

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        There is no need to lose your mind for being told the truth. The police prevented the gathering of people in church when new evidence of the evil intention of this Roman bishop, who is a womaniser although it is against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, came to their attention. The police have a responsibility of maintaining law and order in the country. They can not leave anything to chance when they get fresh information that will help them to prevent hooliganism, mayhem and in the process prevent the commission of crime. That is what they are employed to do. And they will do it again, if the situation dictates. I have no doubt about that for failure to do that would have been an abdication of their responsibility as the police of this great nation.
        It is therefore false to tell readers that police entered the church to stop people who were already in prayer. That is clearly a misinterpretation of events, deceitful and therefore unacceptable to the Warvet and to all people who believe in telling the truth.

        • Common Sense says:

          Stop bringing irrelevant nonsense into the discussion. Ncube’s personal habits have no bearing on this story.

          There was no crime by the people, the crime was by the police … they simply didn’t want the truth to be exposed again… one day it will come.

          You make so many silly assertions and you were not even there! Amazing

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            Why should I stop expressing my own opinion, consider that only you has a monopoly of views that we should all follow and by whose standard is the Warvet being judged here?

            And by the way, I am a Christian who practises his faith in the comfort of his own home. I do not go to church where most Christians I have known over the years, go there just to compare their expensive dresses, suits and cars or put simply to show-off their wares.

  2. The Black Aristocrat says:

    Despite the appalling behaviour of his sinister private police force, Zimbabweans will never let Robert Mugabe forget that he has murdered more black Africans than the entire South African apartheid regime. In just one region of Zimbabwe, in just one decade – Matabeleland in the 1980s – his army slaughtered 20,000 civilians. This is the equivalent of a Sharpeville massacre every day for more than nine months.

    The world was outraged by Sharpeville but not by Matabeleland. There were international sanctions against P.W. Botha’s tyranny, but barely a murmur of disapproval against Muagbe’s far worse excesses. Why the double standards?

    A black state murdering black citizens does not, apparently, merit the same outrage as a white state murdering black citizens. Responding to black murderers differently from white ones is a form of racism; it judges black human rights abusers by a lower ethical criterion.

    That is patronising and regards black Africans as less capable of moral behaviour.

  3. Tanonoka Joseph Whande says:

    While I concede that Mugabe’s police should not interfere
    when people gather to discuss civic or political matters that affect their lives, the Gukurahundi genocide is more than a national disgrace committed by a deranged man.
    Gukurahundi was the darkest of our times as a nation, a
    time that the murderer himself, Mugabe, conceded to be “a moment of madness”.
    Since then, the nation suffered more deaths and
    disappearances around the country.
    Indeed, we continue to suffer the same.
    Fortunately, today, we still have most of the people who
    committed these atrocities alive and that is where we should all direct our
    fury at, if we wish to do something about it.
    Gukurahundi occurred when an individual, Robert Mugabe, stupidly
    felt threatened by Joshua Nkomo, obviously a man of better fiber and stature than himself.
    Mugabe got paranoid, rabid and greedy.
    I never accepted this whole dark period as a tribal
    conflict simply because it was never a case of tribe against tribe. It was the
    politicians.
    It was one man’s satanic undertaking to become an all-conqueror
    because of his realization of his own inadequacy.
    But now, it has been turned into a tribal issue, with
    threats being fired from all angles and others dreaming of a separate state.
    Much as I concede the wrongs that Mugabe committed, I
    will not at any point accept the instigation to tear Zimbabwe apart because of a rogue baboon who committed crimes in another area.
    Zimbabwe does not belong to any tribe but to many tribes.
    Zimbabwe is one and will remain that way. It will never
    at any time be torn apart because of what Mugabe has done to the country.
    So this Mtwakazi Republic nonsence will never come to
    fruition. The best it will achieve is to separate Zimbabweans from squatters.
    Mugabe’s police should not interfere with what people
    gather to do. We have the right to assemble. There should not be need for
    permits for us to gather and voice our collective conclusions as long as we do it peacefully, in consideration of our neighbours.
    The police’s role is to make sure that peace is
    maintained and that the law is respected. Otherwise the police have no business where we congregate to discuss our affairs as citizens…except to provide security.
    As for Archbishop Pius Ncube, I only hope that the pontiff’s aim is to help heal and bring the nation together. We are under duress, he knows that.
    Hopefully, he is not trying to rescue his disgraced canonical fortunes with politics that promotes divisions in the country of his birth.
    I have always respected Archbishop Ncube as evidenced in
    my writings from as far back as the early 2000s.
    It is my hope that Archbishop Ncube’s re-appearance is
    for the national good; to bring people together, not to promote the
    disintegration of Zimbabwe.
    This is not bedroom politics.
    We must fight Mugabe to bring the nation together; not destroy
    the nation because of Mugabe.
    I hope the Archbishop’s crusade is to ensure that the
    guilty, not the nation, are prosecuted.
    It is my sincere hope that Ncube, unlike Mugabe, will
    not seek comfort from a village or a tribe but from the integrity of a nation that needs the kind of conscience that he, Ncube, already showed us.

  4. Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof) says:

    Those who try to raise their Mtwakazi activities by claiming to remember those who died during Gukurahundi should understand that the problem of GURURAHUNDI was started by DISSIDENTS , whose cause and mission statement remains unclear! Govt then , reacted to the dissidents , who were challenging and refusing to accept a legitimate jurisdiction of an elected govt in that region! I am by no means condoning the suffering or killing of innocent people caught during that time“ of madness“! Dissidents like Gayigusu terrorised the innocent people of that region for good reason! I am not sure what benefit do we derive from opening wounds..There was a positive correlation between dissidents and those who yearn for a MTWAKAZI STATE!Those craving for a MTWAKAZI state should understand that Zimbabweans voted for a new constitution that does not provide for that ! If they dream of more dissidents , then , Nehanda forbid!

  5. super mondo says:

    so many dead for what 34 years of oppression ,excuses ,no no I say the guilty must pay for killing unarmed people .so many guilty military and police ect who have died without being punished for genocide.mugabe will be dead soon and escape judgement.

    • Chimbwido Warvet says:

      Oh my God, gangadye riya zvino radzoka. Njuzu kana kuti dzimudzangara risingagone kunyora mutauro wayo injuzu kana dzimudzangara rudzii?

    • Chimbwido Warvet says:

      Oh my God, gangadye riya zvino radzoka. Njuzu kana kuti dzimudzangara risingagone kunyora mutauro wayo injuzu kana dzimudzangara rudzii?

  6. super mondo says:

    so many dead for what 34 years of oppression ,excuses ,no no I say the guilty must pay for killing unarmed people .so many guilty military and police ect who have died without being punished for genocide.mugabe will be dead soon and escape judgement.

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