Traditional Leaders In Crunch Indaba Over Gukurahundi
12 December 2021
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By A Correspondent- Traditional leaders have met to map the way forward on how they will tackle the Gukurahundi issue within their communities.

Chiefs from the Matabeleland region and Midlands Province were mandated to handle the Gukurahundi issue following a series of meetings with President Mnangagwa.

The last meeting between the President and the Chiefs was held at the State House in Bulawayo in September.

Due to their proximity to communities, it was resolved that the traditional leadership institution is a key stakeholder in handling problems affecting communities including the Gukurahundi matter.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic which has forced Government to restrict movement of people through lockdowns has largely hindered chiefs from implementing resolutions that were made with the President.

Chiefs have been meeting behind closed doors in Bulawayo for a four-day indaba at a local hotel to discuss a range of issues, with Gukurahundi on their agenda today.

In an interview, Deputy President of the National Council of Chiefs, Chief Mtshana said it was his hope that today’s meeting will produce concrete resolutions that they will take to the people.

“Like he (Chief Charumbira) told you, yes we are going to talk about it tomorrow,” said Chief Mtshana.

He said it was worrying that after chiefs were given the mandate to advance the Gukurahundi agenda they have not done much on the ground.

“As chiefs we have been given this mandate to deal with the Gukurahundi issue.

So, we are to do it step by step. As a result of lockdown measures that have been imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19, we have not done much.

“So, we have not really sat down to discuss how we will handle this since we had our last meeting. So, I hope tomorrow we will come up with a strategy on the way forward,” he said.

The president of the Chiefs Council, Chief Charumbira, briefly confirmed that Gukurahundi would be on their agenda in their meeting that is being held today.

“That will be on the agenda tomorrow.

It will be more of a feedback meeting on how far we have gone,” he said.

Chief Charumbira recently told Chronicle that the resolutions that the chiefs are going to come up with are going to be presented to President Mnangagwa before implementation.

The traditional leaders are expected to lead the reburial of victims of Gukurahundi in Matabeleland and the Midlands while Government will be involved in funding the process, as part of initiatives meant to address the issue and promote national healing.

The chiefs have in the past called for patience as they try to resolve the emotive issue stating that peace building takes time.

Since President Mnangagwa came to power, following operation restore legacy in 2017, he has called on the country not to be a hostage to its past, but confront it head on.

The President said Gukurahundi should be openly discussed to enable the nation to move on, which in itself was a break from the past.

President Mnangagwa has since instructed Government departments, including the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, to facilitate that those who were affected by Gukurahundi access national documents.

-Chronicle