NPRC ups Gukurahundi healing efforts

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Harare (New Ziana) – Efforts to secure redress for Gukurahundi victims will be stepped up this year, with the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) lining up several collaborative initiatives with traditional leaders to give impetus to the healing and reconciliation process being pursued by the government.

The Southern parts of Zimbabwe were rocked by a spate of violence shortly after Independence in 1980, which stopped after the two former Liberation movements, PF Zapu and ZANU-PF, signed a Unity Accord in 1987.

As part of efforts to address issues relating to that period, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has engaged traditional leaders and other stakeholders from Matabeleland and some parts of the Midlands provinces on how healing and closure can be achieved.

In an interview with New Ziana, NPRC spokesperson Obert Gutu said the Commission was ready to partner the Chiefs, following the release of funding for their programmes, the first time government has availed financial support for Gukurahundi programmes.

“As the NPRC, we are very pleased that the government has released funding to traditional leaders to facilitate the processes of finding closure to the Gukurahundi issue. Traditional leaders are custodians of our cultural values, norms, and traditions and as such, they play a very crucial and central role in peace-building processes,” he said.

“The NPRC is always ready, willing, and able to work together with the traditional leaders in this very noble and important national duty. We have already lined up a series of meetings with the national leadership of the traditional leaders in order to give impetus to our collaborative initiatives in addressing the Gukurahundi issue.”

Gutu said despite the daunting task at hand, he was confident that lasting solutions would be found soon, giving closure to victims of the disturbances.

Some of the victims have suffered from a lack of access to national identity documents while others have long sought closure over the violence that resulted in the deaths of some of their relatives.

“The NPRC is confident that we will be able to find closure to the Gukurahundi issue, working closely together with traditional leaders. We are striving to positively influence the construction of a stable, peaceful, united and conflict-free Zimbabwe,” he said.

“Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done but there’s absolutely no doubt that we are on the right track.”

In his Unity Day address last year, President Mnangagwa said no efforts would be spared to secure redress for Gukurahundi victims, and that government would boldly confront the happenings of that era.

“I have made it a personal mission to engage our citizens and our communities in the conflict zones of that unfortunate time of early Independence. We have to boldly confront and tackle the aftermath of that era; heal wounds it left in its wake, and where possible, assuage persistent difficulties and challenges traceable to it. This, I am resolved to do until we remove whatever bitter memories may still exist, and are likely to linger. We are the generation that must resolve issues of early Independence conflict, so we release our children to move forward and ahead as a united people,” he said then.

Already, the traditional leaders have started compiling a database of members of the public in their communities without IDs after which the registry department will move in to process the documents.
New Ziana

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