PRC steps-up efforts to secure redress for Gukurahundi victims
Harare, February 7, 2022 (New Ziana) – Efforts to help bring closure to those affected by Gukurahundi disturbances in the early 1980s, will be stepped up this year, with the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) lining up several meetings with traditional leaders to give impetus to the healing and reconciliation process.
Some southern parts of Zimbabwe and the Midlands were rocked by a spate of disturbances shortly after Independence in 1980, which only stopped after the two former liberation movements PF Zapu and ZANU PF signed the historic 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 and tasked chiefs with spearheading the healing process.
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, marking the first time government had 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, he was confident that lasting solutions would be found, giving closure to victims of the disturbances.
Some of the victims are yet to access national identity documents while others have long sought closure over the violence that resulted in the deaths 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 will be spared to secure redress for Gukurahundi victims and that government will boldly confront the happenings of that era.
In the interim, traditional leaders are compiling a database of members of the public in those communities without IDs after which the registry department will move in to process the documents.