Mashudu Netsianda, Deputy News Editor
GOVERNMENT has announced that in terms of Gukurahundi exhumations and memorials, traditional leaders will work with the affected families for verification purposes as well as identifying tradition and customary implications to rituals and ceremonies to appease the dead.
On the issue of compensation for the victims, cases will be resolved on a case-by-case basis.
President Mnangagwa has already mandated traditional leaders to hold meetings in their communities to introduce the programme to people, identify those directly and indirectly affected and capture their sentiments as well as allow them to express themselves.
The chiefs are also expected to develop a national narrative on the Gukurahundi experience, develop a record of the events that transpired during that period and build peace, reconcile, restore and develop cultural values.
This was revealed by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa while briefing journalists yesterday during the launch of the manual on the Gukurahundi community engagement processes by chiefs including a report on their consultative meetings.
“Concerning the issue of exhumations and memorials, traditional leaders will work with the affected families for verification purposes as well as identifying tradition and customary implications to rituals and ceremonies to appease the dead,” she said.
“On the issue of compensation for the victims, cases will be resolved on a case-by-case basis.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said President Mnangagwa emphasised that the resolution of past conflicts is the sole responsibility of Zimbabweans.
“The President was emphatic in expressing his determination to achieve national unity. He noted that traditionally, conflict resolution is not a prescriptive process, but one that involves dialogue and consultations hence his directive to the chiefs to engage everyone in the affected communities,” she said.
President Mnangagwa has already issued a directive that Civil Registry protocols should be relaxed to facilitate the issuance of documentation that require them.
Minister Mutsvangwa said President Mnangagwa has also endorsed the report from the chiefs on the consultative process involving the chiefs from the Matabeleland North and South provinces, the National Council of Chiefs and the Matabeleland civic society organisations.
“Furthermore, he has also endorsed the chiefs’ community engagement manual on the Gukurahundi issue developed by the chiefs themselves. His Excellency, the President further called on civic society organisations and faith-based organisations to also contribute positively to the process,” she said.
“The President also called upon all provinces and the nation to join hands in solidarity with this discourse.”
Traditional leaders crafted and adopted the Gukurahundi manual to guide the holding of victim-friendly public hearings to ensure national healing as the country confronts its unfortunate past brought about by the 1980s conflict.
The manual, which is a product of inclusive engagements between chiefs and various stakeholders, is a culmination of traditional leaders’ meetings with President Mnangagwa, which started in March 2019.
Chiefs are expected to lead the public hearings in communities on Gukurahundi, which remains a thorny subject in some parts of Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
The manual will guide chiefs on how to conduct the consultative and engagement process in the communities.
Yesterday’s launch was a follow-up to a series of meetings between President Mnangagwa and traditional leaders in a bid to come up with homegrown solutions for addressing Gukurahundi.
Since the coming in of the Second Republic, President Mnangagwa has engaged a number of key sectors in line with his thrust for collective dialogue towards the development of the country.
The President has encouraged citizens to openly discuss the issue which was previously deemed taboo.
Gukurahundi ended on December 22, 1987, when the late former President Mugabe and late Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo signed the Unity Accord. While the Unity Accord produced a political solution to the conflict, the underlying social problems remained and the Second Republic has been on a mission to address that.
The ongoing process is expected to lead to reburials of some victims while Government has already intervened in ensuring citizens have access to national documents.
In March this year, traditional leaders identified an inclusive panel that includes traditionalists, pastors, counsellors, women, men and youth to conduct Gukurahundi public hearings. — @mashnets
Article Source: The Chronicle