Gukurahundi public hearings start in July Mrs Virginia Mabiza

Herald Bureau/Chronicle Writer

THE Gukurahundi public hearings, which are aimed at documenting and addressing the post-independence conflict in the Matabeleland region and the Midlands province, are set to begin in July, marking the beginning of a historically significant national healing and reconciliation process.

The Government has allocated a budget for the exercise and trained over 1 000 service providers, including chiefs, to conduct the Gukurahundi Community Outreach Programme.

The National Council of Chiefs has been entrusted to lead the initiative. 

Local linguistics experts from the Midlands State University have translated the handbook and manual used during the hearings into local languages to ensure broad participation.

Attorney-General, Mrs Virginia Mabiza, said that the outreach programme has been strategically planned to maximise effectiveness and inclusivity, while creating a constructive environment for dialogue, healing and reconciliation. 

The hearings, led by 72 chiefs, will document and identify victims to ensure appropriate remedial action. Stakeholders are expected to propose recommendations for remedies during the hearings.

Under the Second Republic, President Mnangagwa embarked on the initiative to pursue the resolution of the Gukurahundi issue through an internal and home-grown process in February 2019, as part of his administration’s efforts to maintain and strengthen national unity among Zimbabweans. 

After extensive consultation with all stakeholders, the President decided to entrust the National Council of Chiefs, through its selected members, to spearhead the initiative.

“In addition, the provisional planned time frame demonstrates our political will and prioritisation of reconciliation efforts within our country. We hope that these efforts signal to stakeholders and the international community that the Government takes these matters seriously,” she said.

Mrs Mabiza, who heads the secretariat for the Matabeleland Peace-Building Outreach Programme, said the commencement of these consultations has been strategically planned to maximise effectiveness and inclusivity, as well as create a constructive environment for dialogue, healing and reconciliation. 

“The Government is committed to creating an inclusive environment where everyone’s opinions are valued, contributing to a meaningful and impactful process. Preparations for the outreach programme are at an advanced stage,” she said.

“I am pleased to announce that we have made significant progress in laying the groundwork for Gukurahundi consultative meetings. This includes logistical arrangements, venue selection and co-ordination of resources.”

Mrs Mabiza said part of the preparations involved the translation of materials to be used during the programme into local languages.

“In addition, the Midlands State University has been entrusted with translating the community outreach handbook and manual into local languages, ensuring effective communication and participation in the consultations.

“Also, I am delighted to report that the university has completed the translation of the manual. Administrative forms have been developed to facilitate the collection of personal information of all participants during the meetings.

“These forms will enable the chiefs’ panels to systematically archive testimonies using the information and communication technology gadgets procured for this initiative,” she said.

Mrs Mabiza said the procurement of logistical equipment and consumables is ongoing and will continue beyond the launch to effectively support the hearings. 

She said the Government is committed to ensuring all necessary resources are in place to facilitate meaningful and productive consultations.

President Mnangagwa’s administration has committed to confront the country’s ugly past by resolving outstanding issues associated with the disturbances.

The outreach, Mrs Mabiza said, was a significant step forward in demonstrating the Government’s commitment to addressing and healing wounds of the past.

“We assure the nation that a dedicated budget has been established, highlighting the Government’s commitment to addressing historical grievances related to the Gukurahundi issue comprehensively and transparently.

“This allocation ensures that all necessary resources will be available to support the successful implementation of the programme, reinforcing our dedication to a thorough and meaningful resolution process.”

The hearings, she added, were poised to address a range of critical issues, underscoring the Government’s commitment to truth, healing and reconciliation.

“These hearings will provide a platform for victims and their families to share their experiences openly and honestly, helping to uncover the truth behind the events of Gukurahundi.

“The National Council of Chiefs has resolved that no chief shall interfere with the proceedings of another chief within their respective domains. This approach is designed to facilitate a sense of ownership of the process by the affected communities, as they are in the best position to identify potential victims and verify accounts based on their shared experiences,” she said.

“We believe this strategy will enhance the authenticity and effectiveness of the consultative process, ensuring that the voices of the communities are accurately represented and heard.

“Central to the hearings is the documentation and identification of victims to ensure that the Government takes appropriate remedial action.”




You Might Also Like