Responding to the news that security forces today arrested three activists in Bulawayo at a Unity Day memorial held to remember the victims of the Gukurahundi massacres, Flavia Mwangovya, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, said:
It is disgraceful that Thamsanqa Ncube, Melusi Nyathi and Samkeliso Tshuma were arrested on Unity Day as they called for national peace and sought to honour the victims of the Gukurahundi massacresFlavia Mwangovya, Deputy Regional Director for East and Southern Africa
“It is disgraceful that Thamsanqa Ncube, Melusi Nyathi and Samkeliso Tshuma were arrested on Unity Day as they called for national peace and sought to honour the victims of the Gukurahundi massacres. Their arrest marks the latest attempt by the authorities to silence those who want to keep victims’ memories alive.”
“Suspected state security agents have previously destroyed memorial plaques put in place by local activists, in a clear sign that the authorities wish to permanently censor any discussion or remembrance of the Gukurahundi massacres.”
“The three activists arrested today have not committed a single crime — they should be immediately and unconditionally released. The authorities prevaricated over declaring their charges, which offers a clear indication that they were arrested arbitrarily and sends a chilling message to other activists in the country.”
The three activists arrested today have not committed a single crime they should be immediately and unconditionally releasedFlavia Mwangovya
Thamsanqa Ncube is the Deputy Chairperson of Ibhetshu Likazulu, while Melusi Nyathi is a founding member of same NGO based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, that seeks justice for victims of genocide and related human rights abuses, Samkeliso Tshuma is the founder and director of The Girls Table, an NGO that advocates for the rights of women and girls in Zimbabwe.
They were charged with “participating in a public gathering” with the intent of promoting violence.
December 22 marks Unity Day in Zimbabwe, which has been observed since 1987 when PF-ZAPU and ZANU-PF, two major political parties, signed the Unity Accord.