Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa was the first to look up at the sky, Chief Charumbira, the president of the National Council of Chiefs, was the next and almost involuntary, traditional leaders and every delegate gathered at State House followed suit.
They were not looking at a drone, or a plane heading to the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport; no! They were reacting to the fine raindrops that were falling lightly on their Gukurahundi public hearings launch on Monday morning.
To the religious at the gathering, the rains were a symbol of rebirth and renewal. The gods were happy with what was happening and the showers were a blessing of the ceremony. They signified the beginning of healing, the washing away of pains of the past to start anew.
Rain has always symbolised hope and fulfilment and it is not surprising that there was excitement among delegates. To them the gods and ancestors had endorsed the traditional leaders-led Gukurahundi community engagement process.
A traditional healer and member of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers’ Association (Zinatha) Mr David Nduna Mlilo said the rain shows that the heavens and ancestors are satisfied with the steps being taken.
“Rain is a good thing; it shows that God and the ancestors are in agreement to what is happening. Since this marks the start of engagements, it means God and ancestors are rejoicing because everything that happens on earth is also communicated in the spiritual realm. For years, the ground was bleeding over people who were unjustly killed and some of them are not properly buried,” said Mr Mlilo.
For decades, discussions on Gukurahundi have been held in hushed tones with most victims suffering in silence. There was no hope that the issue was ever going to be discussed and victims were probably waiting for death to end their pain.
President Mnangagwa changed all that by encouraging citizens to openly debate. From the moment he became President, he prioritised engagement and re-engagement, both locally and internationally. To some people, the re-engagement process that mattered was with other countries.
But President Mnangagwa is a man who believes that charity begins at home. The Second Republic adopted an inclusive and collective approach to national development with the President engaging a coalition of civil society organisations under the banner of Matabeleland Collective.
Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said God had blessed the occasion and the process of healing.
“It is indeed a privilege to be associated with this high special event whose objective is to launch the Gukurahundi Blueprint Roadmap by our son of the soil, our unifier, our listening President, the servant of the people and indeed, war veteran.
“This process today as we have just witnessed, a very rare occasion is happening, the occasion is being blessed by the rain. I don’t know whether I was the only one who witnessed this. Something very significant is happening, God has just blessed this occasion, even our own ancestors, through a signal of a rain and I think we should celebrate this.”
Muchinguri-Kashiri is not surprised by President Mnangagwa’s peace building initiatives. She said the President was a peace and nation builder.
“I’m not surprised that in 2019, right on this spot, he launched this consultation to engage the people of Zimbabwe to address some of the outstanding issues and one being a very emotional, a very thorny, sensitive issue of Gukurahundi. And it all started here and we thank you for your full support of this process. We are not surprised that this was a priority area to His Excellency, judging from his wealth of experience.
“He participated during the Lancaster House negotiations, which brought us the independence that we are enjoying today. Immediately after independence he was given a very difficult task to ensure that he united three very difficult armies that were fighting against each other and he successfully did so,” she said.
After the attainment of independence, Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra), Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla) and Rhodesian Forces were integrated in the formation of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the President was among the politicians leading the process.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said President Mnangagwa was also instrumental in the 1987 Unity Accord negotiations which ended the Gukurahundi violence and formation of Zanu-PF.
“At the height of a very serious conflict between MDC and Zanu-PF in 2008 he was also one of the key negotiators which brought peace and resulted in the Government of National Unity. We want to thank you, Your Excellency, for leading that process,” she said.
She said now everyone wants to associate with President Mnangagwa’s brand.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said it was not surprising to see the formation of several groups that want to be associated with President Mnangagwa.
“Today, we are in the Second Republic where he is engaging with everyone, with churches, with the chiefs, with the children and we are seeing wonders, people forming groups out of love, Teachers for ED, Churches for ED, everyone wants to be associated with this peacemaker,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri. — @nqotshili
Article Source: The Chronicle