These questions are not only of a moral character but also interrogate the veracity of claims by a new and shadowy group calling itself the Fallen Heroes Trust. The group insists the remains are those of liberation war fighters and innocent women and children caught in crossfire in Zimbabwe’s brutal 1970s bush war.
Journalists who visited the site recently questioned whether the remains, some of which are still intact and dripping in body fluids, are indeed from that era, more than 30 years ago. Morally, observers ask if it is right to exhume the bodies in the haphazard and unscientific manner in which the process is being carried out.
The exhumers are not trained archaeologists and are not working under the supervision of a pathologist as should be the case. Also, they are using n’angas to identify the remains, this at a time when another n’anga story — the diesel saga which turned out to be the greatest hoax of all time — is still fresh in the minds of all Zimbabweans.
Sceptics allege that the exhumations may be a cover-up for crimes committed in the first decade of the new millennium when the then ruling Zanu PF party is known to have committed gross crimes, such as the murder of political opponents.
Indeed many people disappeared during that time. Other critics say that the bodies may date back to the early 1980s Gukurahundi genocide when 20 000 people are said to have been massacred by the North Korean-trained 5 Brigade.
Many of these criticisms may be dismis-sed as counter-revolutionary hogwash by those gaining political capital from the exercise. Indeed, Zanu PF is whipping up people’s emotions ahead of an election it dearly wishes to force through this year.
But even if indeed the remains are from the liberation war, the truth has got to be known about what really happened during that period — and to whom. Now that controversy is raging, the exhumations must stop forthwith and a commission of inquiry set to investigate the truth.