PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s government cannot attend to the current economic crisis until Britain returns the remains of Mbuya Nehanda and other leaders killed during the First Chimurenga, a cabinet minister said Tuesday.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been in a tailspin for much of the last two decades with President Robert Mugabe’s administration blamed for the malaise.
After reclaiming sole charge following the 2013 elections, Mugabe’s Zanu PF promised an economic rebound which would, the veteran leader vowed, create more than two million new jobs.
But two years after the vote, the promised boom remains elusive and an estimated 20,000 people have, over the last few weeks, been thrown out of work in a country where unemployment is said to be more than 80 percent.
Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo told his followers on Twitter that government could not focus on mending the ailing economy until the “skulls of the First Chimurenga heroes are returned”.
“These barbarians have been displaying the skulls of our First Chimurenga heroes and heroines in their libraries!
“How can we focus on the economy when the skulls of Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi are displayed in a British Museum?” Moyo asked a follower.
The minister was responding after being asked whether it was not time the government turned its attention to the economy rather than concentrating of the repatriation of the skulls of long dead heroes from far-away lands.
Challenged about the unaccounted for thousands said to have died during the Gukurahundi disturbances, Moyo said anyone holding their remains should be forced to return them, just as the British must return Nehanda.
He said: “If any barbarian has put such skulls in any museum for display then let’s reclaim them too without fear or favour!”
Mugabe told thousands gathered at the Heroes Acre in Harare, Monday that his government had set in motion a plan to have the remains of the leaders of the country’s first rebellion against colonial rule returned by former colonial master Britain.
The veteran leader said the remains were being held remains in British museums.