Govt faces Gukurahundi head on

Zimbabwe will conduct fresh research on post-Independence civil disturbances in Matabeleland and Midlands to establish exact issues that require redress.

This will inform decisions related to the disturbances.

The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission is leading the research, which includes one-on-one interviews in affected communities.

The Commission will soon visit Gwanda and Bindura, engaging religious organisations, civil society, traditional leaders and any concerned residents.

NPRC Acting Chairperson Mrs Lilian Chigwedere told The Sunday Mail: “We need to address the real issues, but we can’t do that without visiting the past and the affected communities to hear what they experienced, otherwise we will be making assumptions.

“As it stands, what we know is what (civil groups) say. What do the people say? Only the affected communities can really tell us what happened. There is need to follow up with proper research.

“The communities will open up during our consultations and then we will investigate further and come up with our own reports. All these reports (there is talk of the Dumbuchena report; the Chihambakwe report, both of which are said not to have been released) … Then there is the CCJP (Catholic Commission on Justice and Peace) report.

“Our focus as we go out is to encourage people to tell the truth, with the ultimate goal of sustainable peace. This is going to be a community-driven initiative.

“Even recommendations are going to come out of what society wants; if it is an apology they want, if it is compensation or reburials, the communities will guide us accordingly. We will walk with the people all the way.”

Mrs Chigwedere said the NPRC would deal with other past conflicts apart from Gukurahundi.

“Conflicts date back to time immemorial. They are specific to communities or periods. The issues raised by people from Mashonaland Central are likely to be different from those that will be raised in Masvingo or Matabeleland.

“Section 10 of the NPRC Act gives us the power to engage anyone whom we believe can contribute to our findings. So, while it is still too early to say whom we will engage, no one is above the law.

“Apart from addressing post-conflict (scenarios), the Commission also seeks to mitigate future conflicts through early detection of potential conflict areas.”

In an interview with the BBC in Switzerland two weeks ago, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Government wanted to bring closure to matters around Gukurahundi.

Vice-President Kembo Mohadi heads the Organ on National Peace and Reconciliation.

The NPRC, which was in 2013 given a 10-year mandate to achieve peace and bring about healing and reconciliation through the Constitution, has the mammoth task of investigating the conflicts that the country has endured in the past and come up with recommendations.

Nine members, led by the late chairperson Cyril Ndebele, were sworn into office on February 24, 2016. President Mnangagwa signed the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill into law on January 5, 2018, operationalising the Commission.

“Already five years have been lost so we have to move with speed,” said Mrs Chigwedere. “We have to do 10 years’ work in the remaining five years and we are eager to move Zimbabwe to a level of cohesiveness, where there are no demarcations.”

According to Section 252 of the Constitution, the NPRC is mandated to ensure post conflict justice, healing and reconciliation and developing programmes that promote national healing, unity and peaceful conflict resolution.

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  • john

    There are all these reports then of course there is the truth which has no bias and is not propaganda.
    I was a state witness in a case that was associated with the above.
    It was in the press as the largest ever currency case and then reduced to fraud.
    Is stated on the front page that the funds came from psychological warfare in Pretoria SA.
    Truth is that SA were concerned that they would have the same problems as Zimbabwe, Ted Sutton-Price ex local home affairs in the Rhodesia Government was employed as their consultant and he had a staff of locals who were used in UDI to destabilise the freedom fighters, transferred with him to the SA payroll.
    Mugabe had gone pro Russia and there was the cold war so they wished to change back to trade with the west, thus there was British approval for the operation from SA local intelligence there.
    They would train terrorists in Botswana and Mozambique and then their local employees would create problems which would necessitate Mugabe sending in the army as he didn’t trust the integrated army he would send in the 5th brigade, this would cause political violence which would then signal the terrorists to come in and cull all the matabeleles .
    Some journalists were still in the journalists from Rhodesian days so the local media would blame Mugabe and as people are so gullible people died the 5th brigade is there so it must be them, it is thus that the media covered up for the real criminals and still does today.
    I went to Pretoria and interviewed Sutton Price who said it was the best operation of his career, Mugabe under international pressure and the threat on being brought before the Hague reverted to trade with the west.I asked of those missionaries caught in the middle and he said there is collateral damage in every successful mission.
    I got to know the lawyers acting as paymasters and all those involved – laterally jailed for fraud not terrorism and murder and the prosecutor was given a cushy job in Cape Town in return for protecting SA..
    All those who supplied local funds in return for rand got their funds returned with interest from cabs.
    I spoke with many people including Nkomo’s grandson who recalled me from meetings in Highfield.
    I told him i was prepared to giver evidence under oath to a truth commission but was not interested in a propaganda cover up commission.
    This offer still stands, but i am aware there are those with hidden agendas who want to place the blame for political reasons only. Although i was a state witness and the only person who can give all the names it is doubtful i will be asked in preference to those who have prepared reports from a political point of view. Basically on the assumption that the 5th brigade were there and none of the terrorists announced they were terrorists.