Chiefs identify panellists for Gukurahundi hearings

The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
TRADITIONAL leaders have resolved to establish inclusive panels consisting of chiefs, traditionalists, pastors, counsellors, women, men and youth to conduct Gukurahundi public hearings.

Chiefs are in the process of mapping the Gukurahundi public hearings and are working towards finalising the framework in which the hearings will be held.

The traditional leaders from Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South met in Bulawayo to discuss how they will conduct the hearings in their communities.

The chiefs meeting is part of the process to resolve the Gukurahundi issue following President’s Mnangagwa’s commitment to address the problem.

The President has held several meetings with chiefs in a bid to  find a closure to the 1980s disturbances.

Yesterday’s meeting which was chaired by National Council of Chiefs president Chief Charumbira, the  traditional leaders resolved that chiefs will chair, moderate and give guidance during public hearings in their areas.

The traditional leadership structure including headmen and village heads will be expected to call up Gukurahundi public hearing meetings.

Politicians and those wearing political party regalia will not be allowed at public hearings.

In his presentation, Chief Mathuphula said some of the roles of the traditional leaders will be to identify hotspots where Gukurahundi atrocities were committed.

Chief Mathuphula said pastors and religious leaders will be involved as they were expected to offer counselling and mobilise the public from their churches.

“The Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) and cultural leaders will give guidance on culture. Women will be included to assist other women who were victims of the disturbances who might find it difficult to share their experiences during hearings,” said Chief Mathuphula.

He said the youth would also be included in the Gukurahundi public hearings.

In the meeting it was observed that there are some special groups that might need specific attention during the interview process.

“There are victims that might need private interviews especially victims of sexual abuse and torture.

These might find it difficult to open up during public hearings hence the need for private interviews and recordings,” said Chief Mathuphula.

The chiefs noted that some some victims might be reluctant to testify at public hearings and there was need to find ways of getting information from such individuals.

“There are also former Zipra cadres, who are a special group, who may not want to be grouped with a lot of people hence they also need special attention.”

Chief Mathuphula said in opening remarks chiefs will be expected to outline the agenda of the meeting and why the hearings are important for the region and victims.

“The President has given us the freedom to openly discuss this Gukurahundi matter. This programme is taking place in all the areas in Matabeleland region hence members of the public should feel free to express themselves,” said Chief Mathuphula.

Chief Dakamela said in their deliberations they observed that young chiefs may have difficulties in handling some of the issues and might need assistance from other chiefs.

He said the public hearing should not be rushed so that all victims are given an opportunity.

Chief Charumbira said there might be a need for another meeting before President Mnangagwa launches the hearings. [email protected]

Article Source: The Chronicle

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