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Gukurahundi factor to affect referendum-civic group

Gukurahundi atrocities will affect the 16 March referendum, the umbrella body for civic organisations, Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition said yesterday.

Government scrapped the use of the voters’ roll in the forthcoming referendum but instead prospective voters will be required to only produce their national identification particulars to cast the ballot.

The development which is likely to see millions of Zimbabweans above the age of 18 voting on the country’s new proposed constitution.

Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition spokesperson Thabani Nyoni yesterday told Radio Dialogue that there were fears that children of Gukurahundi victims risked being sidelined in the forthcoming vote for the proposed constitution, as they were struggling to access national identification particulars.

“Their parents are unaccounted for because of the atrocities perpetrated against them and as such the law is that for one to get a national document they have to prove that they are Zimbabweans, but they cannot do that without their parents,” said Nyoni.

He also expressed concern over arbitrary arrests and called on Government to investigate these cases.

“We are concerned that there is little progress being made to ensure that citizens are able to freely engage and access information with regards to the referendum,” said Nyoni.

Over 20 000 people were killed during the Gukurahundi Genocide against the Matebele people found in the Southern western parts of Zimbabwe while millions were displaced to neighbouring African countries and thousands fled to Western countries.

The Genocide was dubbed Gukurahundi by the Zimbabwe government, a Shona word that means the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains.

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