Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT is drafting a policy to facilitate Gukurahundi exhumations and has also relaxed registration requirements to acquire identity cards, birth and death certificates for affected families.
The policy is being crafted in consultation with traditional leaders and other relevant key stakeholders.
The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) is expected to lead the exhumation and reburials of Gukurahundi victims, some of whom were buried in mass and shallow graves at the height of the 1980s disturbances largely in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
The NPRC has since started training provincial peace committees that will engage people leading to public hearings and exhumations.
President Mnangagwa has encouraged citizens to openly speak on Gukurahundi and has repeatedly reminded Zimbabweans that no subject should be made taboo in resolving conflict.
The President has so far held two meetings with civil society and a separate one with chiefs to promote national healing.
In a media briefing yesterday in Bulawayo soon after a closed-door meeting with members of the Matabeleland Collective, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said Government is in the process of addressing pertinent issues to do with Gukurahundi disturbances.
“On exhumations, work is already in progress with regards to the drafting of the necessary policy framework in consultation with traditional leaders and other stakeholders. A policy document will be drafted to guide the process.
“Furthermore, the requirements for one to acquire a birth certificate or national identity card will be relaxed after consultations with relevant stakeholders,” he said.
Minister Kazembe said a comprehensive publicity exercise will be undertaken in support of the programme.
He said in terms of death certificates for Gukurahundi victims, the Civil Registry Department in consultation with the Attorney General and the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, is working out modalities for their issuance.
Yesterday’s meeting between Minister Kazembe and the Matabeleland Collective was a follow up on issues raised when President Mnangagwa engaged the group in February this year.
Some of the issues that were raised during the previous meeting include access to all forms of documentation and the need to finalise exhumations of Gukurahundi victims.
Minister Kazembe said President Mnangagwa’s engagements with civil society organisations from Matabeleland region complements social cohesion and peace building efforts.
“Today’s meeting continued in the spirit of engagement and inclusivity, taking a leaf from the last engagement in which His Excellency, President ED Mnangagwa afforded a platform to members of the Matabeleland Collective on February 14, 2020. The President heard issues affecting the region and a progress report on the implementation of agreed resolutions was presented,” he said.
Asked to comment on the case of six Bulawayo police officers who allegedly brutalised two women from Cowdray Park suburb for allegedly violating lockdown regulations, Minister Kazembe said the matter is under police investigation and corrective action will be taken.
The NPRC initiated investigations leading to the arrest of the police officers. The commission condemned the alleged police heavy handedness saying it was unwarranted. The accused persons are set to appear in court on July 13. — @mashnets.