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Mnangagwa's minister speaks on Gukurahundi, past conflicts

by Staff reporter
19 Apr 2019 at 07:19hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT is committed to dealing with past conflicts including Gukurahundi by formally recognising them as part of the country's history to bring closure to the events and foster national healing and reconciliation, a Cabinet Minister said yesterday.

The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi, said the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission is also engaging people who were affected by the post-independence disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands Provinces so that they find closure on the matter.

Minister Ziyambi told The Chronicle that President Mnangagwa's recent engagement with the Matabeleland Collective, an umbrella body of civil society organisations from Matabeleland, was a sign of Government's commitment to engage and find common ground on the numerous issues affecting the people of the region.

He said the NPRC was a very important Commission born out of the realisation that the country needs to deal with the past.

"The NPRC, which was to born out of a realisation that we need to deal with our past, is seized with matters that cannot be swept under the carpet and we need to deal with them and have closure. Fairly recently, you saw initiatives by the President that we need to deal with the issue to do with birth certificates for victims of Gukurahundi and in situations where relatives know where their beloved are buried, exhumations must be carried out and decent burials of the remains must be done," said Minister Ziyambi.

"We also have issues to do with formal recognition that it (Gukurahundi) is part of our history and we have to acknowledge it and deal with it in an appropriate way. We hope that by the end of the work of the NPRC, they will come up with recommendations as to how we can then come up with final closure to this issue."

The Justice Minister, under whose Ministry the NPRC falls, said the commission was given a 10-year mandate but it could be extended.

"So it was given a 10-year mandate which we may extend because of the court order that ruled that the tenure must be 10 years but it (NPRC) was operationalised after the Constitution came into effect," said Minister Ziyambi.

President Mnangagwa last week said the debate on the Gukurahundi issue should have started a long time ago and resolution of some of the issues finalised long back. He challenged the nation to open up discussions on the subject, which was taboo in the previous administration under former president Robert Mugabe.

"The question of Gukurahundi, personally I don't see anything wrong in debating it on television and in newspapers," President Mnangagwa said.

"What I am happy about is that the Matabeleland Collective approached me and said they want to discuss with me the issue of Gukurahundi, the issues of lack of development and I agreed. These are citizens of this country. I went there and I discovered that it was unfortunate that in the past we did not entertain such dialogue. It's very useful. We learnt a lot from that dialogue and, in fact, the differences are not critical. There are issues we can discuss and together, craft a way of looking forward. We discovered that, in fact, they are not saying we don't want the Government of the day. They are saying the Government of the day is failing us in this area and that area. This is a platform. Government can explain itself and be able to appreciate the needs and priorities of the areas."

Source - chronicle