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Gukurahundi victims want an apology from Mnangagwa

by Staff reporter
01 Feb 2020 at 06:24hrs | Views
THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) is in the process of educating the police about Gukurahundi as law enforcement officers will play an important role of summoning witnesses to testify during the commission's hearings on the issue.

The Commission will this week also outline its work plan on addressing Gukurahundi including the sensitive issue of exhumation and reburial of victims of post independence disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces.

NPRC chairperson Retired Justice Selo Nare said the commission has engaged the police and observed that junior officers do not seem to understand issues relating to Gukurahundi, hence do not see the reason why it should be spoken about.

 "Some young police officers believe this should not be talked about. We have held courses for the police so that they have a knowledge of what we are doing so that if we go to Maphisa, the public will not be frightened by the presence of the police thinking that they will come after them," said Rtd Justice Nare.

He said the NPRC's first interactions with the police was with Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga and his top lieutenants last year. Rtd Justice Nare said in their discussions, the commission made it clear that President Mnangagwa has encouraged citizens to speak freely about Gukurahundi.  

"We quoted very freely what the President said and what the former President (late Robert Mugabe) had said. President Mnangagwa has said that people should talk very freely about Gukurahundi.

"There is change and police appreciate that. The thematic group on investigations (that is where the police come in), that is where in terms of the Act you can go to the police so that they can subpoena some people to come and give evidence. Police have a role to play in the reconciliation process," said Rtd Justice Nare.

He said the commission will next week outline its work plan on addressing Gukurahundi as the exhumation process has taken long to commence.  

"Let me talk to you about the sensitive area of Gukurahundi. We should have been there yesterday had we not been told to put on hold the exhumations. But also, we are short staffed but the research teams will be on the ground as quickly as possible. We had a planning retreat which took place in Kadoma where we were planning the way forward. This coming week we should wrap up the process and we will produce a document of where to go, what steps to take next," he said.

Rtd Justice Nare said while some political figures might claim that the late former President Mugabe and late former Vice President Joshua Nkomo resolved Gukurahundi, a lot still needs to be done at grassroots level.

"We as NPRC say that was at the top level not the people at the bottom. People at the bottom were not involved at all. They were not asked whether they want reparations, whether they want an apology. What we hear now from the ground when we talk to the people is that they are looking for an apology, other things will follow but an apology to them is necessary. Some people might look for development and other things," said Rtd Justice Nare.

He said provincial peace committees will play an important role in addressing some of the Gukurahundi issues.

Rtd Justice Nare said the NPRC has also engaged local universities who have staff specialising in peace building in trying to resolve some of the existing conflicts.

Source - chronicle