More than three decades after Zimbabwe’s Gukurahundi massacre, the killing of Ndebele civilians carried out by the Zimbabwe National Army, its ghosts are coming back to haunt newly-appointed Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

As the minister of state security in the early 80’s under Robert Mugabe, he is described by historians as one of the architects of the killings that claimed the lives of about 20 000 Zimbabweans.

Mnangagwa denies any involvement and has refused to apologise.

Between 1983 and 1984, around 20 000 Zimbabweans, mostly Ndebele men, women and children, died at the hands of the Mugabe regime.  It was an effort to quash opposition and became known as the Gukurahundi massacre.

Mugabe’s removal from power in November 2017 revived calls for justice and intensified allegations that the current President played a key role in the bloodshed.

At the time, Mnangagwa was minister of state security, but the president’s office declined to comment. Yet during a recent interview he stepped back from accepting personal responsibility for the deaths, saying people should focus on the good of the past and leave the bad behind.

At the end of 2017, the families of those who were killed demanded their loved ones be exhumed from mass graves and given proper burials.  After decades of demanding that the truth be told about what Mugabe himself at the time called a moment of madness, the Gukurahundi survivors’ fight for justice will continue.