Mnangagwa And Williams Do Not Have The Constitutional Mandate To Handle Gukurahundi Issues
25 August 2020
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The Matabeleland Forum, a break away group from Jenny Williams led Matabeleland Collective, says any initiative that seeks to deal with the Gukurahundi atrocities must be coordinated by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) which is constitutionally mandated to promote national healing in the country.

Matabeleland Forum also claims to represents the clergy and civil society organisations in the Matabeleland region as claimed by the Collective.

The claims by the Forum comes after President Mnangagwa met the leadership of Matabeleland Collective at the Bulawayo State House on Saturday where they came up with a plan of action to issue out documentation to victims of Gukurahundi.

The NPRC was not present at the meeting.

In a statement, Matabeleland Forum said it acknowledged that Zimbabwe’s constitution mandates the NPRC to “promote national healing, encourage people to tell the truth about the past and make sure there is post-independence conflict justice and reconciliation.”

The forum said it would not support any reconciliation process that failed to recognise principles, truth telling and conflict transformation.

The grouping also called for a national dialogue as expressed in the Pastoral letter from the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop Conference dated August 14, 2020.

“As the Matabeleland Forum we support the need for dialogue, truth telling and reconciliation towards Nation Building.”

While acknowledging past efforts by the government through the Office of the President and Cabinet to engage with Civil Society in Matabeleland and the traditional leaders to address the past injustices in particular the Gukurahundi genocide, the Forum expressed concern at the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.

“We are further concerned that the Government of Zimbabwe has responded with disdain and contempt to the contents of the statements and position papers deposited by the various non-state actors.”

In an effort to foster nation-building, reconciliation and accountability, the Matabeleland Forum proposed that efforts that seek to promote reconciliation with regards to Gukurahundi massacres should avoid tokenism and must place the affected individuals and survivors at the fore.

“Truth-telling must be conducted ahead of any compensation or assistance to the victims and or survivors of Gukurahundi. An inclusive and holistic approach must be considered to make sure there is sustainable conflict transformation within affected communities,” said the forum.

The umbrella body also said the issue of exhumations of Gukurahundi victims should be guided by a policy framework in accordance with the Constitution and International Norms.

“Non-State Actors should be allowed to present evidence-based reports on the political, social and economic impact of the Gukurahundi Genocide before the relevant Parliamentary Portfolio Committee(s),” said the grouping.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)