Police block another Gukurahundi memorial

BULAWAYO - Police in Bulawayo once again blocked a local pressure group from holding a prayer session for the fallen Gukurahundi victims over the weekend at an event that had been pencilled for Stanley Square in Makokoba.

This was the third time police stopped Ibhetshu Likazulu from holding the commemoration in a space of two months.

In January police pounced on the people who had gathered outside the Baptist Church waiting for the commencement of the event dubbed the Gukurahundi Memorial Prayers.

Former Roman Catholic Archbishop for Bulawayo diocese Pius Ncube had to conduct a short prayer session outside the church before he confronted the police over the decision to block a prayer meeting.

However, in a letter dated February 12 and signed by the officer commanding Bulawayo Central District, police refused to sanction another meeting citing among other reasons the agenda of the meeting which they said “may cause disharmony and those opposed to the event may take advantage of the prayer meeting.”

On Saturday, the Daily News witnessed two truck-loads of police in riot gear dispersing a crowd that had gathered for the event.

As people continued to trickle in to Stanley Square — the centre of nationalist activities in the 1960s — for the event, police had to camp inside the venue for a while, while others stood outside monitoring the situation.

While some guests were milling outside, the law enforcers later resorted to driving them away to clear the area. It also emerged that, police had also ordered the Bulawayo City Council caretaker not to unlock the gates of the venue.

Mbuso Fuzwayo, the organiser’s spokesperson,  told the Daily News he resented the way police have continued to break a prayer meeting over what he termed flimsy excuses.

“Honestly, this is outrageous. What kind of law is this? All we have been trying to do is hold a prayer. I mean just a prayer and nothing more or less for our fallen Gukurahundi victims,” Fuzwayo said.

“It’s quite shocking because all the reasons we have been given by the police for not giving us a clearance are so flimsy and do not hold water at all.

“Where on earth does a prayer session require a police clearance?

“Where is the freedom of expression they preach day in day out?”

He said efforts to get a police clearance last week proved fruitless as he was moved from one post to another until the day of the event.

“To me it shows the lack of will on the part of the Zanu PF government but that won’t kill our spirits neither will it appease the spirits of the departed,” Fuzwayo said.

He added that his organisation would continue engaging the police and relevant stakeholders in a bid to honour the departed souls who were killed in post-independence political disturbances.

Comments (2)

The innocent blood of the people, men women and children will claim what belongs to them, JUSTICE no matter how long it takes those responsible for this genocide will pay.

Roland Cele - 4 March 2014

This will come to pass. Justice might be "blind" but it can see in the dark.

civilised etiquette - 4 March 2014

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