VIDEO: Activists disrupt national healing meeting

Part of the Civic groups dancing denouncing the presence of national peace and reconciliation commission at a local church in Bulawayo. (picture by Obey Sibanda)

Part of the Civic groups dancing denouncing the presence of national peace and reconciliation commission at a local church in Bulawayo. (picture by Obey Sibanda)

Auxilia Katongomara/Mbonisi Nleya, Chronicle Reporters
SOME Bulawayo civil society groups led by separatist movement Mthwakazi Republic Party yesterday disrupted National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) stakeholder consultations challenging the composition of the Commission.

The activists said the Commission did not represent diverse ethnic groups as it was dominated by Shona- speaking people.

They also demanded an independent Commission not headed by Government.

The meeting, held at the Brethren in Christ Church, failed to proceed smoothly as youths from MRP disrupted the deputy chairperson, Mrs Lillian Chigwedere, soon after she introduced the commissioners.

Mrs Chigwedere, in her opening remarks, gave a brief background of the Commission and stated how the commissioners were selected.

Soon after introducing the Commissioners, the placard-wielding youths immediately began to protest against the Commission’s composition and demanded that the Commissioners leave the podium.

The activists claimed there were too many Shona people which eventually discredited its sincerity in conducting its duties.

Men of the cloth who were at the meeting tried to contain the situation but failed as the activists ensured that the meeting did not go as planned.

They carried placards all around the church and sang songs in front of the podium demanding that the commissioners leave.

Commissioner Leslie Ncube, who is from Gwanda, tried in vain to restore order as the defiant youths said the meeting would not go on as long as the rest of the Commissioners were around.

Speakers at the meeting demanded that the commissioners immediately leave the podium so that no meeting goes ahead.

Former magistrate and Zapu elder, Mr Johnson Mnkandla, encouraged the youths to form a committee which would hand over their grievances to Government but was shot down by the activists.

Mr Mbuso Fuzwayo from Bhetshu Likazulu said there is a need for an Independent Commission.

“We are hurting very much and we need healing. We need an international Independent Commission because this one cannot preside over burning issues as it is an interested party. In fact the Commission does not have a locus standi to preside because they were appointed by the Government. We need an Independent Commission,” said Mr Fuzwayo.

President of the Mthwakazi Republic Party Mr Mqondisi Moyo said his party members chased away the commissioners because they did not represent the wishes and aspirations of the people.

“There have been some Commissions before like the Dumbutshena Commission; those Commissions never gave out those findings. We need those findings before we can move forward. We need also an independent body like CCJP. Six of the commissioners are Shona so we need a representative Commission which has all other ethnic groupings,” said Mr Moyo.

Mthulisisi Hanana, the director of the Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation, said it was important for the Commission to listen to the voice of the people.

The commissioners walked out of the meeting after about two hours as the activists switched off the PA system, prematurely ending the meeting.

The NPRC commissioners took with them placards handed over by the protesters.

Soon after their departure, civil society groups began to share the contributions they had jotted down before dispersing.

In an interview after the commotion, Mrs Chigwedere said the disruptions were an eye opener to the Commission.

“It was good for the Commission to be here and to see and hear what the people were saying. It gives us the reality on the ground of what the people of this region really want to be addressed. I think it was clear from speaker after speaker what they want addressed and even the disruptions that occurred are part of the whole process. We wouldn’t have seen this if we had not come here,” said Mrs Chigwedere.

She said the Commission cannot address the issue of its composition.

“As the far as the composition, it’s not our mandate to address it but we have heard the people’s concerns and in our programming and recommendations, we will see how we can take that message back to the nation because the commission is a Constitutional body which was put in place by the people of Zimbabwe.

“The composition aspect of it can be dealt with better by other organisations not the Commission. I think I highlighted how the Commissioners were appointed from Parliament to the interviews up to the appointment,” said Mrs Chigwedere.

Commissioners at the meeting were Patience Chiradza, Choice Ndoro, Charles Masunungure, Geoffrey Chada, Leslie Ncube, Netty Musanhu and Godfrey Chekenyere.

@AuxiliaK

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  • uMkhonto

    Nice songs but why did you cut them short?

  • uMkhonto

    Nice songs, but why did you cut them so short?

  • Nkunzemnyama

    Bazonya,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,we want an independent commission.

  • Vumani

    The activists have a a valid point the composition of the commission is made of predominantly people from Mashonaland it’s appointed by government. A commission should reflect autonomy & not give reason for suspected biases. The victims will advertently or rightfully see the commissioners as Gukurahundi oppressors.Why not look for people from Midlands & Matebeleland with involvement of religious clerics with no affiliation to ZANU ??

    • THE TRUTH

      What are you complaining about; as a ZANU PF supporter? That is how your party is; there is nothing new. Everything they do; they think Shona first. Live with it and enjoy your ZANU uthule!

  • THE TRUTH

    Ngempela ngempela kusazoshuba. Mthwakazi youths have taken up the cudgels from their dying elders and they are carrying on with the fight – its the Shona Ndebele question. It has to be settled once and for all and impositions based on Shona numbers will never work. Not in Mthwakazi – the fight is on!!

  • David Mokoena

    Tribal war won’t solve the problem. Violence will breed more violence. They that live by the sword, shall die by the sword. Play skillfully BANTU, play skillfully.

    • zibulo

      whos waging a tribal war here? uphambene ? people are demanding Justice, with Facts , and you say they are waging a tribal wat? did you ever issue that warning to ZANU the tribalists ?

      • THE TRUTH

        Why are you surprised? These are the same people who were after 200 so called dissidents, but instead killed 20000 unarmed innocent villagers for failing to speak their Shona language and called that a WAR. These are the same people who spent the better part of their time in the bush harassing villagers in Mashonaland for chicken and called it the Chimrenga. Cowards are always like that.

        • Essexvale

          Nice one and very appropriately put. Yeah ….. that’s telling it like it is!!

  • kuchadziya

    Reconcilliation should also cover Rhodesian security forces atrocities. Why should we forget so fast. We have relatives that were killed as we watched. This should not be treated as special. Kufa kufa it doesn’t matter where. we are also still traumitized. How does it disappear when no healing has taken place. Those in liberation zones were subjected to biological warfare. In case you never heard ‘jigger fleas’ that feed on human blood and breeding was done at the University of Zimbabwe. Why forget so fast. There is no suffering that should be considered special. The programme should cover the whole of Zimbabwe.

  • zibulo

    and on this topic chronicle has a moderator sitting and watching postings as they come in, abafunu anything hitting on the immorality of the composition of the Commission officers, and that ZANU is an interested party in the saga.