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Zimbabwe’s National Peace and Healing Commission prioritises Gukurahundi genocide

Sandra Maricho

GWERU – Zimbabwe’s National Peace and Healing Commission recently reiterated its commitment to urgently addressing the political disturbances which happened in the early 80s, adding that would promote transparency to what actually took place and allow the process of healing and reconciliation.

The commission came up with a strategic plan based on thematic areas which include facilitating healing and reconciliation, conflict prevention and non-recurrence and a victim-centered approach to allow victim participation in all the processes.

Speaking at a two day NPRC outreach, the Commissioner responsible for the Midlands Province, Commissioner Netty Musanhu, said there were several issues that stakeholders brought to their attention, but they would first prioritize the Gukurahundi issue because of its sensitivity.

“Midlands is so unique as compared to other provinces we have been to so far. We have different languages that is both Ndebele and Shona. We heard there are some areas affected by Gukurahundi, some were affected by electoral violence and the tropical issue of small scale miners’ violence popularly known as (mabhemba) machetes among others, “Commissioner Musanhu said.

“Our research is not guided by time meaning that we have a broad mandate than other commissions who are given specific timeframe.We are going to be guided by the people who have been affected even the pre independence era.As a nation we have carried a legacy of violence pre independence and has never through rehabilitation afterwards That is why we have been assigned to look at the past reflect on the curent and then use the experience to come up with an informed future,” she added.

“The current issue unique to Midlands Province is the violence in small scale miners who have become notorious formed their gangs and are untouchable. And we are going to facilitate the communities to come up with the solutions of the challenges they are facing,” Musanhu said.

This was concurred by Midlands Council of chiefs’ representative, Chief Jongilizwe Matshazi from Zvishavane who said communities have to come up with solutions to the challenges they might have encountered.

“Zimbabwean problems are best solved by Zimbabweans and we don’t need prescriptions from outsiders. We can come up with solutions by dialogue and opening up with each. We are going to work closely with National Peace and Reconciliation to build Zimbabwe,” Chief Matshazi said.

Dialogue and victim participation will go a long way in building public confidence and trust in the commission after some politicians were arguing that other commissions have been assigned before but at the end they won’t be any progress.

Youth representatives called for unity in the country and desist from blame and focus on rebuilding the economy. They highlighted the need for a comprehensive research on other countries who passed through the same phases as Zimbabwe giving an example of Rwanda where people reconciled after the infamous Rwanda genocide and now their economy is flourishing.

In their submissions to the commission, political parties called for the need for traditional leaders to be partisan and not be biased to any political parties because they are leaders of the people. They also highlighted the need for the rule of law to be effectively practiced arguing noone is above the law. The issue of displacements also came to the spotlight especially the Chemagora case questioning why farmers who have settled for about nineteen years can be classified as illegal settlers identifying loopholes in the rule of law.

National Peace and Reconciliation Deputy Chairperson Lilian Chigwedere thanked Midlanders for accepting them warmly and cooperating in their outreach program.

“As we tour around the country we are received differently and we accept it with the understanding of the sensitivity of the issues being raised. However we would like to thank all the stakeholders for contributing relevant information to the commission,” said Deputy Chairperson Chigwedere.

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