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Chombo taken to task after saying Gukurahundi is a non-issue

Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chomo was on Wednesday taken to task when he was asked how he was going to deal with victims of the Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980s who wanted to register to vote for next year’s elections but had not papers and responded that Gukurahundi was not an issue.

The remarks sparked heated debate mostly from Movement for Democratic Change legislators who felt Chombo had trashed the massacres which cost between 10 000 and 20 000 lives mostly Ndebele speaking people in Matebeleland and the Midlands.

The question had been raised by MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe who asked: “With the biometric voter registration system every eligible voter, that is, everyone who is above 18 years will have to register afresh as a voter.   What is Government doing to ensure that there is a roll out programme ahead of voter registration where people will be given an opportunity to get birth certificates and IDs?  There is a great concern, especially in Matabeleland where people were killed during the gukurahundi era and their children up to now do not have IDs and birth certificates.”

Chombo replied: “First and foremost, the issue of gukurahundi does not arise in this particular case …….” but was cut short by interjectors asking him to withdraw that statement.

The issue of Gukurahundui has been in the news recently following the publication of a report that the British government new about the massacres but turned a blind eye because of its economic and strategic interests.

Here is what transpired in Parliament on Wednesday.

HON. KHUPE:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  Hon. Minister, with the biometric voter registration system every eligible voter, that is, everyone who is above 18 years will have to register afresh as a voter.   What is Government doing to ensure that there is a roll out programme ahead of voter registration where people will be given an opportunity to get birth certificates and IDs?  There is a great concern, especially in Matabeleland where people were killed during the gukurahundi era – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – and their children up to now do not have IDs and birth certificates.  What is Government doing to make sure that there is a roll out programme ahead of voter registration, so that by the time voter registration begins, all eligible voters have IDs and birth certificates?  This is a crucial time where every Zimbabwean is supposed to be given an opportunity to go and vote for leadership of their choice.  I thank you.

HON. DR. CHOMBO:  I thank you for giving me this opportunity to address the question that was raised by Hon. Khupe.  First and foremost, the issue of gukurahundi does not arise in this particular case – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

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