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Special Gukurahundi committee established

by Staff reporter
13 Mar 2020 at 05:57hrs | Views
THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has constituted a special Gukurahundi committee for Bulawayo and similar panels will be established in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in due course.

The NPRC has said it has started laying the groundwork for a process that will culminate in Gukurahundi exhumations, with President Mnangagwa expected to participate in an indaba to map the way forward.

President Mnangagwa has encouraged citizens to openly speak on Gukurahundi and has reiterated that no subject should be made taboo in resolving conflicts surrounding the subject.

The President has so far held two meetings with civil society groups and a separate one with chiefs to promote national healing and the NPRC has said another meeting is on the cards.

The special Gukurahundi committees that are being constituted are meant to deal with the 1980s disturbances that were concentrated in Matabeleland region and parts of the Midlands province.

The committee members would be drawn from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Midlands provinces. Bulawayo's eight-member special Gukurahundi committee was constituted on Wednesday and it is chaired by Mr Johnson Mkandla, who is also the one of the Bulawayo provincial peace committee deputy chairpersons.

The Bulawayo committee was constituted at the end of a three-day provincial capacity building training workshop for Bulawayo provincial peace committee members that ended on Wednesday. Next week, the NPRC will train provincial peace committee members from Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South before moving to Midlands province.

During the training workshops for provincial peace committees, members of each provincial peace committee will second selected members who will be part of the provincial Gukurahundi special committee.

NPRC says while the provincial peace committees will be responsible for tackling various conflicts in provinces there is a need to set up a special team to tackle Gukurahundi issues only.  

In an interview, NPRC commissioner Patience Chiradza said the special Gukurahundi committee members will bring under one roof concerns of people from affected regions and how they want the matter to be addressed.  

"I think it is important to have a collective meeting because we have been speaking in different spaces. But we now need to come together and say this is what needs to be done. We need to give appropriate policy recommendations to our Government and to other players that need to do work around this issue. It will also guide us on what is the collective voice saying remember the work that we are supposed to do is centred on the needs of the people," said Comm Chiradza.

She said the special committee will also be tasked to come up with a collective position as NPRC is preparing for a meeting to be held with President Mnangagwa, chiefs and civil society organisations from Matabeleland region.  

"We will have a collective voice there. When we were talking about Gukurahundi it becomes overlapping to other provinces. So, it becomes difficult to discuss it in the different spaces. We want to bring the voices together and agree on a roadmap that will encompass the views of everyone," she said.

Mr Mkandla said it was important to set up special Gukurahundi committees targeting the four provinces that were worst affected by the disturbances. He however said individuals like him were constrained just being limited to Bulawayo yet they had so much information regarding Gukurahundi, that some people in Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and the Midlands do not have.  

NPRC chairperson Retired Justice Selo Nare said peace committees from which the special Gukurahundi committee members are drawn from are key in ensuring that NPRC fulfills its mandate.

Source - chronicle