from NDABENI MLOTSHWA in Gwanda
GWANDA, (CAJ News) – AFTER almost four decades of denial, the Zimbabwe government is showing commitment to addressing the atrocities perpetrated by state security forces.
An estimated 20 000 people, mainly from Matabeleland and Midlands regions, were massacred immediately after Zimbabwe attained its independence from Britain in 1980.
The military had been deployed to flush out dissidents opposed to the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) coming to power under Robert Mugabe.
Even when a unity government was formed in 1987 to end the atrocities, discussions on the issue, known as Gukurahundi, was taboo.
However, new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has urged openness on the matter.
This past weekend, Mnangagwa and his deputy Kembo Mohadi, who is in charge of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), spent the weekend in Matabeleland to resolve the conflict.
Mnangagwa met traditional leaders, civil organisations and concerned citizens at the country’s second largest city of Bulawayo.
“The major point that has come out is the fact that Gukurahundi affected communities in which they preside as traditional leaders. These leaders are directly affected by the incident of Gukurahundi,” Mnangagwa said.
“Therefore, they have made an argument that in its resolution, government must create a platform where the chiefs should participate substantively because it is the communities which they preside over which were affected,” the president said in Bulawayo.
Mohadi spent the weekend in the provincial capital of Matabeleland south province, Gwanda, where he met local chiefs, activists and civic societies.
“I have resolved to base my peace-building and conflict-resolution crusade on our tradition and culture cognisant that I have to engage other social groups, but using the traditional cultural approach as the platform for my engagement and dialogue with these other social groups,” Mohadi said.
He pledged to young people, women groups, business and religious organisations on the peace-building, conflict-resolution crusade.
– CAJ News