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Mnangagwa disappointed

by Staff reporter
15 Feb 2020 at 15:36hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has conceded that little has been done to address the issues affecting Matabeleland region nearly a year after he met Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) operating here.

Last March, Mnangagwa met CSOs working under the banner of Matabeleland Collective at Bulawayo State House to discuss issues affecting the region.

The engagement was anchored on four key areas of focus — healing, devolution of power, social inclusion as well as compensatory development.

Yesterday, Mnangagwa met CSOs to assess the progress made on the issues which were raised at the initial meeting last year.

"I regret that the picture that emerges is that very little has been done. It is important to know that very little has been done so that we can strive to do better.

"I have no doubt that the problems raised by this gathering in March last year can and will be resolved through the same method that has brought us success before, which is dialogue," Mnangagwa said.

Some of the key issues identified at the last meeting that needed immediate attention included the issuance of birth certificates to Gukurahundi survivors and death certificates to families who lost loved ones in the 1980s atrocities.

The CSOs also wanted the government to, among other things, exhume and rebury those buried in mass graves and to provide psychosocial support to survivors of the Gukurahundi atrocities.
None of the issues have been fully addressed to date, according to Justice ministry permanent secretary Virginia Mabhiza, who was the convener of yesterday's meeting.

Mnangagwa attributed the failure to the sensitive nature of the issues raised by Matabeleland Civil Society which he said raises sharp differences and emotions in any discussion to resolve them.

However, he urged the affected to resist the urge to elevate any to a level where they become permanent barriers that prevent meaningful dialogue.

He said one contentious issue that arose from their dialogue was exhumations of bodies buried during the Gukurahundi era.

"As you are aware, this is a sensitive issue that requires careful consideration, with due regard being given to the sensitivities of the affected families, their communities and the relevant culture and customs that are in place in the locations of burial sites.

"My government is working at achieving consensus on how best to address this situation in a manner that will not offend anyone.

"In due course, I will receive recommendations from all concerned parties, including the affected families, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and the traditional leaders and other civic society groups
"It is my sincere desire that we conduct the exercise of the exhumations in a manner that will bring healing to those in pain and unity within our society," said the president.

Last April, Nkwalini Villagers in Sipepa, Tsholotsho, witnessed a ground-breaking exhumation of a couple that was reportedly killed by the North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade. The bodies of Justin Tshuma and his wife Thembi Ngwenya were exhumed by pathological experts from Bulawayo-based Ukuthula Trust and witnessed by the NPRC. However, no other exhumations have been conducted.

Source - dailynews

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