Defrocked Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube on Saturday expressed dismay over police action to ban the Gukurahundi commemoration prayers slated for the Baptist Church in Bulawayo.
Ibetshu Likazulu, organisers of the event had invited Ncube to grace the occasion to remember an estimated 20 000 civilians who died during the Midlands and Matabeleland Gukurahundi era in the 80’s.
The same function of this magnitude was banned last year with police citing potential violence if the event was to take off.
When RelZim arrived at the scene Ncube confronted the police over their ‘questionable’ decision to ban the event.
“How can you ban our meeting with God, What has become of this country,” fumed Ncube.
Soon after that the scuffle, Ncube briefly held a prayer meeting outside the venue and refused to talk to journalists.
Two police officers in plain clothes pounced on the people who had gathered outside the church waiting for the commencement of the event dubbed the Gukurahundi Memorial Prayers.
The organisers’ spokesperson Mbuso Fuzwayo said the police ordered a halt to the event citing potential violence.
“The prayer meeting could not go ahead as police have banned it arguing we wanted to plan a demonstration,” Fuzwayo said.
“They also accused us of conniving with political parties to revolt against the government which to us its malice and an excuse to frustrate our efforts to remember our fallen heroes. As you can see police are here and have told us to disperse, there are also still interrogating some of our members,” Fuzwayo added.
He said the move by the police was meant to frustrate a noble cause of remembering the fallen civilians and undemocratic denial of freedom of assembly as entrenched in the Constitution.
As people kept flocking to the venue, police in riot gear was dispatched almost an hour later to disperse people as well as maintain order.
Former minister of national healing and reconciliation Moses Mzila Ndlovu said the government was insensitive towards national healing issues.
He said for Zimbabwe to fully heal from the atrocities, there was need for truth and respect of such events.