Report on Gukurahundi outreach responsibly

16 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Report on Gukurahundi  outreach responsibly CHIEF KHUMALO

The Sunday Mail

Public hearings to document and address violent disturbances that took place in some parts of the country during the 1980s are set to start in July, marking the commencement of a historically significant national healing and reconciliation process. The Gukurahundi Community Outreach Programme, which will be led by traditional leaders, seeks to bring closure to the clashes that erupted mainly in the Matabeleland provinces and some parts of the Midlands. The Sunday Mail’s TANYARADZWA RUSIKE spoke to the National Council of Chiefs president, CHIEF MTSHANE KHUMALO, on preparations for the outreach programme.


Q: Can you outline the progress you have made in preparing for the Gukurahundi Community Outreach Programme?

A: All chiefs, rapporteurs and chiefs’ panel members have since received training on handling the processes that we will have to oversee during the programme. The handbook we are going to use has also been translated into local languages by experts at the Midlands State University. This will ensure effective communication and participation by victims and witnesses.

We have also developed administrative forms that we will use to collect information of the participants, which are now ready.

I am happy to say that we have been equipped with the necessary gadgets to fulfil our responsibilities effectively. These gadgets include laptops, printers, recorders and high-quality microphones.

Q: What specific issues will the outreach programme seek to address?

A: The hearings will seek to find out how the people were affected during the Gukurahundi era. The Second Republic’s goal is to create a platform for open dialogue, healing and reconciliation, where experiences of victims and their families are acknowledged, respected and addressed.

Furthermore, by providing space for victims and their families to share their experiences, the consultations will facilitate healing and closure. The hearings will serve as a benchmark for victim certification and provide valuable recommendations to the State regarding remedies that can be deployed to bring this matter to finality.

Q: Can you outline the significance of the Gukurahundi outreach programme in facilitating national healing and unity?

A: The outreach programme will facilitate national healing and unity through facilitating closure of the Gukurahundi chapter since it will offer people a say in how best the issue can be closed and unite the nation thereafter.

The hearings also hold immense significance for national peace and healing in Zimbabwe because they will provide space for victims and their families to share their experiences and address the root causes of past conflicts through open dialogue and reconciliation.

Q: How are you going to ensure that there will be transparency and provision of safe spaces for the victims and witnesses to speak freely as you prepare to commence the hearings?

A: Each chief will be responsible for coordinating and moderating consultations within their respective jurisdictions. Therefore, there shall be no external interference at any level to maintain the integrity of the recorded data.

We are going to ensure there is transparency and provision of safe space to victims and witnesses by providing public interviews and also privacy for those who need it.

The witnesses and victims will be at liberty to give their testimony. They will also be allowed to say where they want their testimony to be heard.

Q: What is the significance of having chiefs lead the processes?

A: It is believed that people have confidence in their traditional leaders, particularly people in rural areas. This is also meant to facilitate a sense of ownership of the processes by the affected communities, as we are in the best position to identify potential victims and verify accounts based on their shared experiences.

This strategy, I am sure, will enhance the authenticity and effectiveness of the consultation process, ensuring that the voices of the communities are accurately represented and heard.

Q: What role will the media be expected to play when the outreach programme commences?

A: The public hearings being led by chiefs in their communities seek to address the legacy of Gukurahundi, a violent period that affected some parts of Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces in the 1980s.

The media is expected to report on the proceedings from time to time for the public. We also urge the media to be careful and not incite conflict in their reportage on the Gukurahundi issue. Reporting responsibly by the media will help to solve the post-independence conflict. This means the media has a sacrosanct duty to conscientiously relay information to the public.

Q: What are the expected outcomes of the outreach programme?

A: The expected outcome will come from the victims. The chiefs will be mere facilitators.

Q: For how long will the outreach programme run?

A: We are not yet sure how long the programme will take.

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