HARARE – Over 500 victims of the June 2008 political violence are still unaccounted for in Masvingo province alone, according to a local human rights group
.By Godfrey Mtimba
Speaking during a rights group workshop in the city recently, Community Tolerance and Reconciliation Development (Cotard), Director, Gamuchirai Mukura said his organisation was undertaking research to ascertain the actual number of people missing as a result of the political violence.
He said there could be over 1000 missing people in the province but so far they have managed to identify about 500 people who are still missing with their relatives having no clue as to what could have happened to them.
Mukura said some of the missing people were abducted by Zanu PF militia who with the assistance of state apparatus waged an orgy of violence across the country, which eventually forced MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to pull out of a presidential runoff.
“We have been compiling the statistics and the exercise is still on. What we have established in areas we have covered so far are about 500 missing victims most of them MDC activists,” Mukura said.
He said his organisation was moving around the province’s seven districts interviewing the missing victim’s relatives.
Some of them are believed to have been abducted and murdered and dumped in the wild life infested Gonarezhou National Park while some could have been dumped in the province’s major dams.
Others are believed to have crossed the border to neighbouring South Africa to seek political asylum.
MDC claims that over 200 of its members were killed during the violent period.
Mukura said the process will help deal with tensions that still linger in the communities.
“If you speak to the ones who lost their relatives, they are still in pain although it’s now three years after the atrocities were committed. The perpetrators should be brought to book”, he said.
The organisation called on the largely moribund national healing and reconciliation organ to speed up efforts to resolve the issue of violence before the country’s next election.
“This toothless national healing organ should start doing something to resolve tension between the victims, relatives and the perpetrators. People out there are not ready for elections. They still have fresh wounds and memories of the barbaric activities of violence in 2008,” Mukura added.