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Gukurahundi a priority for the whole nation

30 Jun 2021 at 06:42hrs | Views
AFTER attaining full independence in April 1980, Zimbabwe embarked on a journey of nation building but along the way, conflict was unavoidable in the young nation.

Factors including tribalism, political party differences, ideological differences and the Cold War contributed in the escalation of violent conflict in Western Zimbabwe.

The Unity Accord of 1987 was the first bold attempt to nation build and end the war.

Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu committed themselves to unite under one political party - Zanu-PF.
 
However, this nation building attempt only ended the violent side of the conflict.

Gukurahundi was generally criminalised as citizens, including victims, were not allowed to speak out.

Cutting away from the path chosen by his predecessor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa took a huge leap in an attempt to nation build.

In March 2019, he met with over 60 civil society organisations under the auspices of the Matabeleland Collective at the Bulawayo State House.

The engagement was anchored on four key areas of focus which are healing, devolution of power, social inclusion and compensatory development.
 
The decriminalisation of Gukurahundi and reburials were discussed openly for the first time in the history of the country.

Also, under the Second Republic, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) visited various parts of the country to discuss Gukurahundi as part of a national healing process.

While these meetings have been hampered by the global Covid-19 pandemic, a few Gukurahundi victims have been reburied.

Obviously, reburials are not the end of the national healing process, but definitely a good start.

It is, therefore, unfortunate that NPRC commissioner in charge of media communication Obert Gutu last week was quoted in the media saying Gukurahundi was a "small tiny fraction" of issues that the NPRC was dealing with.

It is not surprising that his sentiments invited backlash on social media for being insensitive to Gukurahundi victims and against the spirit of nation building, national healing, dialogue led by the President and the creation of the NPRC.

As we reported yesterday, the NPRC on Monday said Gukurahundi is the "top conflict" that it is aiming to resolve while distancing itself from Comm Gutu's insensitive statement.

NPRC chairperson Justice Selo Masole Nare apologised to the nation for the comments made by Comm Gutu and said the commission does not view Gukurahundi as a "small tiny fraction" of conflicts but the most significant conflict in post independent Zimbabwe.

He also said the commission remains guided by President Mnangagwa that the country has to openly speak about Gukurahundi in order to resolve the sensitive matter.

Nothing could be further from the truth than Comm Gutu's sentiments.

Gukurahundi will never be small, tiny or a fraction.

It is a priority not only for the NPRC and the President, but the nation.

A resolution must be found, victims must get all the assistance they need and dialogue must never end.
We owe this to all the people who died during the conflict and future generations.

While Comm Gutu's statement was unfortunate and unbefitting of an NPRC commissioner or communicator, the good work of the commission must continue.

We must remember that nation building is a process and not an event.

Source - Chronicle
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