Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
THE Government has started reburying victims of the war of liberation and those affected by the post-independence disturbances in the Midlands and Matabeleland region, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko said in Bulawayo yesterday.
Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting with Matabeleland South small scale miners in the city, VP Mphoko said the programme, which is already being carried out in some parts of the country, was part of the national healing and reconciliation process.
“The Government has introduced a national programme of reburying people who were killed during the liberation war that is being carried out throughout the country. In this part of the country (Matabeleland) that has to be done so that people who were affected by Gukurahundi are given a decent burial and that is very critical as it will help cool down tempers and emotions,” he said.
VP Mphoko, who also doubles up as the Minister responsible for National Healing and Reconciliation, said it was important to deal with the scars of the post-independence disturbances to address their after-effects and to allow victims to move on with their lives.
“We are the leaders of this country and it is our responsibility to address those matters. What we have to do is to issue birth and death certificates to those who were affected by Gukurahundi and rebury their loved ones properly as well as economically empower them, which is exactly what we fought for,” he said.
VP Mphoko said President Mugabe had expressed regret about the disturbances which he described as a “moment of madness” and what was left was to address the scars left by that period.
“President Mugabe made it clear that it was an act of madness and what else do we want? There is nothing more than that,” he said.
VP Mphoko said despite unwarranted criticism for the manner in which the Gukurahundi issue was being handled, Government was committed to exploring a non-confrontational way of dealing with the matter.
“In fact, there is a lot that is being said about Gukurahundi including how my predecessors the late Vice-Presidents Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, Joseph Msika and John Landa Nkomo handled the matter. However, the problem is that there are some people who want the issue to be handled in a certain manner that seeks to humiliate targeted people, but our approach is that we must find a solution that will help the victims and produce best results and as the Minister responsible for that, I am exploring a way which is not confrontational,” he said.
VP Mphoko said Government has an obligation to assist children of the victims to acquire birth certificates.
“I am appealing to every Government ministry with responsibility to ensure that these people are empowered to look into this issue and stop harassing people by doing wrong things. As it is some children of the victims are not going to school and they cannot vote, open bank accounts or acquire passports.
Acquiring birth certificates is some form of empowerment for the people as part of the solution to compensate them,” he said.
VP Mphoko castigated the leader of Zapu, Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, for creating confusion and giving the impression that PF-Zapu was no longer part of the 1987 Unity Accord.
“The point that I want us to take note of is that Zanu-PF is a product of PF Zapu and Zanu whose leaders President Mugabe and the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo are the signatories to the 1987 Unity Accord. Whenever you vote for Zanu-PF you will be voting for President Mugabe and Dr Nkomo and that is Zanu-PF,” he said.
“The real PF-Zapu is what you find in Zanu-PF and the Zapu that is led by Dabengwa is a fake PF-Zapu. It is therefore important for people to be able to distinguish between the genuine PF-Zapu and the fake Zapu which resembles old snakeskin. The official position is that PF-Zapu is in Zanu-PF,” VP Mphoko said.