By Zimbabwe Voice Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa this Saturday met with traditional Chiefs at the State House in Bulawayo where it was resolved that the Gukurahundi issue must be resolved in a victim-centered manner and victims compensated.
It was resolved that Chiefs will lead the compensation of victims and reburials, but on a case by case basis as “this issue is traditional and should be dealt with by traditional leaders”.
The President said he will only deploy resources to support a Chief who would have resolved the cases on a one-by-one basis, saying “one size fit all approach would be inappropriate for this program”.
Zimbabwe Voice publishes the full statement of the deliberations below:
TODAY, this 21st day of August, 2021, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa met members of the National Council of Chiefs to receive recommendations to resolve the issues related to Gukurahundi.
As you are aware that several meetings have been held in the past around this issue culminating in today’s meetings. On the 24th of June, 2019; the President convened a meeting with Matabeleland Civic Society Organisations (CS0s) under the name Matabeleland Collective to discuss the issues affecting the Matabeleland region which highlighted the Gukurahundi as a conflict area.
Consequently, on the 22nd of August, 2019 it was proposed that the Gukurahundi issue was to be spearheaded by the Traditional Leaders.
On the 24th of October, 2020 the President met with the Chiefs from the Matabeleland Provinces to receive their respective reports on the issue. Further, on the 30th of October 2020, the President met the National Council of Chiefs and endorsed the Traditional Leaders to take a lead of resolving the Gukurahundi issue.
Subsequently, the National Council of Chiefs over the past two weeks, engaged in intensive consultations with the Matabeleland Civic Society Organisation and Faith-Based Organisation on the 29′” of July, 2021 to the 1″ of August 2021 and 4th to the 6′ of August, 2021 respectively on the issue.
Notably, it has been resolved that each Chief will spearhead the resolution of the issue in his or her area of jurisdiction.
The process will be victim centred and will also involve key stakeholders engagement. It was reiterated that the Gukurahundi issue should not be tribalised in order to foster national building and national healing.
The National Council of Chiefs highlighted the following key issues:
- Documentation (Birth, National IDs and Deaths Certificates);
- Underdevelopment and Marginalisation of Matabeleland region;
- National Healing, Reconciliation and National Building;
- Counselling and Psycho-social support;
- Consultation of victims;
- Reburials, Exhumations and Memorials;
- Reparations and Compensation; and
- Social Security Benefits (Pensions, Free Education, Social Welfare and Health Services).
Following the deliberations of the issues, His Excellency the President highlighted that a systematic approach to the resolution of issues raised should be adopted. This will entail feedback on preparedness by a particular Chief in issues requiring attention in his or her area of jurisdiction .
Regarding exhumations and reburials, this should be resolved on a case by case basis, custom centric and the relevant Chief should give guidance and directions.
Concerning the issue of Social Security benefits, this shall also be resolved on a case by case basis.
Issues have been clarified and this should now enable the Chiefs to carry out the tasks. This issue is traditional and should be dealt with by traditional leaders.
Chiefs requested to organise themselves and come up with implementation plan detailing preparedness in their area of jurisdiction so as to guide the process.
It has to be emphasised that this process will be led by Chiefs and then affected communities. The President made it clear that a one size fit all approach would be inappropriate for this program.
As a way forward, Chiefs are to go back to their respective areas to consult on the issues raised. So which ever Chief is ready, the President will deploy resources to their area to support the resolution of issues in that area. □