President Emmerson Mnangagwa has officially ceded his Gukurahundi victims reburials programme to the National Council of Chiefs under the chairmanship of Chief Fortune Charumbira besides the issue being part of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission agenda and strategic plan.
The move is likely to raise a storm amongst Matabeleland activists who have been demanding to have localised solutions to the Gukurahundi issues especially the reburials.
The endorsement was made during a meeting between the National Council of Chiefs and President Mnangagwa at State House in Bulawayo.
The meeting was a follow-up to previous ones held between chiefs and President Mnangagwa, the last one being a consultative engagement at the same venue between the Head of State and chiefs from Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South last Saturday.
In the last meeting, it was resolved that traditional leaders will now take over the exhumation and reburials of victims of Gukurahundi in Matabeleland and Midlands while the Government will be involved in funding the process as part of initiatives meant to address the issue and promote national healing.
Giving a brief after the closed-door meeting which was also attended by Cabinet ministers and senior Government officials, yesterday evening, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said National Council of Chiefs president, Chief Fortune Charumbira reported on the breakthrough with regards to finding a resolution to Gukurahundi.
“The president of the Chiefs Council briefed the meeting on the outcome of the deliberations from an earlier meeting of National Council of Chiefs. He noted that traditional leaders had made a major breakthrough with respect to issues of Gukurahundi. All the 36 members endorsed the initiative of traditional leaders taking leadership in resolving issues of Gukurahundi,” said Minister Moyo.
He said it was further resolved that chiefs will work out their methodology within their respective areas of jurisdiction, agree on the methodology which is suitable to their communities and that the methodology should include all stakeholders.
He said in response, President Mnangagwa acknowledged yesterday’s meeting as a culmination of the process that was initiated by Matabeleland Collective, a grouping of non-governmental and church organisations from the region.
“It was in that process that the role of the chiefs was espoused leading today’s collective position taken by the chiefs which puts the chiefs at the centre of the resolution of Gukurahundi,” said Minister Moyo.
“His Excellency mentioned that Gukurahundi was now an open issue which can now be discussed freely.”
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and his permanent secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Nqobizitha Ndlovu, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima, and State Security Minister Owen Ncube attended the meeting.
Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Judith Ncube, her counterparts Richard Moyo from Matabeleland North and Abednico Ncube from Matabeleland South also attended the meeting.
Source: State Media