UK-based lawyer and one of the founding opposition MDC leaders Yvonne Mahlunge-Gwashawanhu, David Coltart’s deputy then, says while people should upon death mourn Zanu-PF ministers like Joel Biggie Matiza, there shouldn’t be selective amnesia; their evil deeds can’t be forgotten.
Mahlunge-Gwashawanhu says it was during that time that she came across victims of political violence by the Border Gezi-trained Zanu-PF militias in which the late Matiza was implicated.
She says Matiza harboured, fed and directed militias, attacking MDC activists in his area.
“Others appealed to those interacting on social media to remember not to speak ill of the dead aper our Shona axiom; wafa wanaka. Others responded that a man’s deeds (good and bad) inevitably follow him beyond the grave,” she writes in an opinion-editorial article.
“This engagement brought me back to this interaction I had with JB Matiza known to many as Engineer Matiza. A man celebrated by many to be professional man, an architect by training I believe. However, also a man about mentioned directly by victims of political violence which included indescribable sexual assaults against the wives, daughters of and members of the MDC.
“Going back to the subject of “command” empathy and the so called hunhu hwedu hweku chema nevanochema; (our custom of mourning with and comforting the bereaved) I respond that we cannot be expected to: undergo forced metamorphosis of unbridled sympathy for our torturers extending them unbridled ubuntu.”
In 2000, the then nine-month-old MDC almost defeated Zanu-PF in fiercely contested parliamentary elections when it won 57 elected seats out of 120. Zanu-PF got 62. The MDC challenged the results in several key constituencies and Mahlunge-Gwashawanhu supervised that process.