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Gukurahundi genocide consultations begin

by Staff reporter
16 Apr 2019 at 07:11hrs | Views
THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has begun community consultations with victims of the Gukurahundi atrocities as part of government's plan to bring closure to the highly-emotive issue.

This follows last week's announcement by President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government to allow exhumations and re-burials of victims of the atrocities which happened in the early 1980s.

Apart from reburying the victims of those atrocities, the government also committed to providing birth and death certificates to the children and relatives of the victims who - for decades now - have been facing insurmountable hurdles at the Registrar General's offices.

Commissioner Leslie Ncube who is spearheading NPRC engagement with communities in the Matabeleland region yesterday told the Daily News that they would commence work from April 23 to April 28. "We have started the community consultations. We will be in Matabeleland from 23 to 28 April and… will be visiting Gwanda, Bulawayo and Lupane.

"We…will be visiting all parts of the country, because each place has its own issues that it wants prioritised. "As a result we want to map a trajectory on the issues of peace-building, to hear out what communities want prioritised, if it's the issue of birth certificates, death certificates…exhumations or any other relevant issues," Ncube said.

He said the NPRC will gather as much information as possible as part of the building blocks towards national healing. "This will help us map our strategy going forward. What we want is to have a robust and candid dialogue with communities where everybody is involved," he said.

Last month, Mnangagwa held a crucial meeting with the Matabeleland Collective, a grouping of 66 civic society groups, where he promised to act on their grievances - culminating in last Tuesday's decisions which were announced at a follow-up meeting in Bulawayo by Justice ministry permanent secretary Virginia Mabiza.

"On the exhumation of victims of Gukurahundi, the implementation modalities will be that government will allow legal exhumation and reburial of victims in an orderly manner. "This will be implemented by the ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage upon request by affected communities.

"On the issue of birth certificates of victims affected by Gukurahundi, it is a priority. "The ministry of Home Affairs has to be tasked to attend to that with immediate effect," Mabiza told journalists after her meeting with the civil society organisations last week. "On death certificates, the implementation modalities will be to provide death certificates to dependents of Gukurahundi through the assistance of the affected communities, and that is also with immediate effect.

"On the open discussion of Gukurahundi, in his own words the president stated that people are allowed to discuss freely about it.
"The implementation modalities are to devise protection mechanisms for those affected by Gukurahundi to be free to discuss their experiences," she added.

Mabiza also said victims of Gukurahundi whose health was affected during the time of the disturbances would benefit from a special government medical scheme. She said the scheme would be implemented immediately through the ministry of Health and Child Care in conjunction with the ministry of Public Service and Social Welfare.

An estimated 20 000 people are said to have been killed mainly in Matabeleland and Midlands when the government deployed the North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade to the two regions, to fight an insurrection.

Unity Day was subsequently set up to commemorate the Unity Accord which was later signed between-PF Zapu and Zanu on December 22, 1987, and which ended hostilities between the two parties.

Mnangagwa, who served as former president Robert Mugabe's right-hand man for nearly 54 years, last year operationalised the NPRC as part of his efforts to address unresolved national issues such as the Gukurahundi atrocities.

Source - dailynews