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Gukurahundi affected families want IDs

by Staff reporter
27 Jul 2019 at 17:28hrs | Views
FAMILIES affected by Gukurahundi disturbances in Matabeleland region have urged Government to expedite the issuance of identity documents, saying it will help speed up the healing process and put the matter to rest.

Speaking at a National Peace and Reconciliation (NPRC) stakeholders meeting in Maphisa, Matabeleland South on Thursday, survivors said it was important for Government to start the process of issuing death certificates for those who lost their lives as well as birth certificates and identity documents for those who lost their parents.

Speaking on behalf of the families, Chief Mathema of Gwanda said Government should prioritise resolving the Gukurahundi issue without wasting time.

"This issue should be resolved once and for all because it's long overdue. Many people lost their parents during Gukurahundi and they never got death certificates. It then became difficult for them to acquire birth certificates. We want officers to leave their offices and register all the people affected through mobile registration.

"I'm sure the process would be faster if it was done in the communities. There's poverty in our communities such that it's impossible for some people to afford to travel to the nearest registry offices to apply for identity documents," he said.

Chief Mathema said he survived the disturbances because he was young when the Fifth Brigade was deployed in Matabeleland.

The chief said he was happy that President Mnangagwa was a listening President, adding that they were now waiting for action to resolve this matter. He said it was also necessary to compensate affected families as well as exhume and rebury those who were left to die in the bushes and those who were buried in mass graves.

"We also need free education in all the areas that were affected by Gukurahundi. Many people failed to go to school because of Gukurahundi and this has affected them for the rest of their lives. We also need development in Matabeleland so that we feel we're part of the country," said Chief Mathema.

Mr Christopher Ncube from Maphisa said it was sad that a lot of people, some grown-ups, have no birth certificates.

"We want equal opportunities for everyone in this country and that can't happen when other people have no birth certificates and identity cards.

"You can't go anywhere without these documents. The Government should therefore come to the people in all districts and make sure that all people here get these documents," said Mr Ncube.

NPRC commissioner Ms Netty Musanhu said the commission would be guided by the voice of the people.

"This is an extremely difficult task but as NPRC we want to try our best to bring closure to the issues that happened in the past and affected a lot of people. The voices of the victims will guide us as we do our work.

"Despite the challenges we're facing, there is commitment from NPRC and we'll continue engaging the affected families and hearing from them what they want for this matter to be resolved," said Ms Musanhu.

President Mnangagwa has said the Government is committed to bringing the Gukurahundi issue to finality. He signed into law the NPRC Bill, which he said will be key in putting the matter to rest.

The President said the NPRC will proffer recommendations to Government on how the matter should be handled.

He said his Government will not ignore the issue hence he has assigned Vice President Kembo Mohadi to be in charge of the peace and reconciliation portfolio.

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Source - chroncile