IBHETSHU Likazulu will this Saturday hold a prayer session to commemorate the 34th anniversary of the Gukurahundi atrocities, in total defiance of a police ban on similar events in the past.

The pressure group is lobbying the government to address the dark past that claimed the lives 20 000 people in Matabeleland and part of Midlands.

The theme of the commemorations is, “Looking upon the hills for peaceEzekiel 37.”

The issue has remained an emotive one especially in the affected regions with President Mugabe, said to be the chief architect of the genocide, refusing to publicly speak on the 1980s killings.

Speaking ahead of the event, Ibhetshu LikaZulu Secretary General Mbuso Fuzwayo said the event will go ahead as planned. “The event will go ahead on Saturday and we have invited various stakeholders which include civil society organisations, churches and some of the surviving victims of the atrocities,” said Fuzwayo.

The prayers will be led by prominent religious leaders from the city. Fuzwayo said in the last three decades, victims of the killings have continued to suffer.

“It is almost 30 years since the genocide ended but there is still no solution in sight. We have the National Healing and Reconciliation Commission but it has done nothing to address this sensitive issue. We were expecting to see the minister responsible for national healing to speak out on this issue but he has remained mum,” Fuzwayo.

Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko is in charge of the national healing, peace and reconciliation portfolio.

“It is clear that the government is not committed to lead the healing process and that’s why the peace and reconciliation commission has not been effected to this day, Fuzwayo added.

Gukurahundi atrocities commemorations are usually held on December 22 but police have always banned them.

Fuzwayo said they opted to hold them in January as it was the month when the atrocities began. Recently, firebrand politician Temba Mliswa torched a storm when he exonerated Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, saying he had no hand in the atrocities, as the killings were targeted at Ndebeles and Karangas.

Mnangagwa is said to be Karanga with roots in the mining town of Zvishavane in the Midlands. He was the state security minister at the time in charge of the Central Intelligence Organisation which is known to have led the killings.