THIEVES on Sunday reportedly stole a Gukurahundi plaque erected by pro-Matebeleland pressure group Ibhetshu Likazulu in memory of thousands of civilians who were massacred by the country’s military in Midlands and Matebeleland provinces back in the 1980s.
After erecting the memorial plaque on Sunday, the pressure group Tuesday held a memorial service at Bhalagwe in Maphisa Matebeleland South where a lot of people were killed and buried at the detention centre.
A similar memorial plaque that was erected by the pressure group was in April 2019 destroyed by suspected state security agents.
Ibhetshu Likazulu secretary, Mbuso Fuzwayo confirmed the latest development to NewZimbabwe.com Wednesday.
“I can confirm that the Gukurahundi memorial plaque that we installed on Africa Day at Bhalagwe has disappeared.
“This is very disturbing and worrisome because this is the second time that the plaque has been tampered with.
“What is even more worrisome is that police are still to account for the culprits who destroyed the plaques in 2019,” he said.
Fuzwayo said the group suspected some pro-government elements were behind the theft.
“When we were going to Bhalagwe to erect the plagues, police tried to prevent us from proceeding to the shrine citing Covid-19 regulations.
“But our question is our team was less than 50 people as required by law while President Emmerson Mnangagwa presided over the unveiling of the Mbuya Nehanda statue in Harare where hundreds of Zanu PF supporters attended the event without even observing Covid-19 regulations.
“Those people who were killed are also important to Zimbabwe particularly here in Matebeleland,” he said.
The activist also said his organisation had spent more than US$700 in financing and transporting the plaques to Bhalagwe.
Fuzwayo vowed the organisation will erect another plague soon.
Maphisa is one of the districts in Matebeleland that bore the brunt of the Gukurahundi mass killings in which an estimated 20 000 civilians are said to have died in the hands of a brutal unit under the Zimbabwean military.