Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa is committed to promoting national cohesion hence his decision that citizens should openly discuss the Gukurahundi conflict.
Since coming to power, the President has held several meetings with traditional leaders and civil society leaders from Matabeleland region as part of the consensus building process on Gukurahundi.
The latest meeting was held last month where it was resolved that chiefs will lead the Gukurahundi conflict resolution.
President Mnangagwa has been commended for taking the lead in resolving the emotive subject.
While Gukurahundi has always been a topical subject, it was largely discussed in enclave communities and hardly mainstreamed into the national discourse.
National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) chairperson Retired Justice Selo Masole Nare said the President’s stance was important if the country is to solve past problems.
“He (President Mnangagwa) has been open to say people should discuss issues relating to Gukurahundi and people are appreciative that they can speak freely on Gukurahundi unlike in the past. There is a cohesion with regards to the people who can now speak their minds freely on the subject,” said Rtd Justice Nare.
He said under President Mnangagwa’s leadership, even the peace commission has been equipped to effectively exercise its mandate.
“We have been to a certain extent, it’s not like in the past. We have been given the leeway to buy some cars which we are using. Presently, the commissioners that have come in have been provided with cars which was not so when I joined the commission. In addition, we have been able to open offices elsewhere outside Harare. We have been able to approach people in the various provinces.
There is also an increase in staff recruitment, a situation towards an improvement of NPRC operations,” he said.
Chief Nyangazonke from Matobo District who is part of the Gukurahundi discussions commended President Mnangagwa, saying the path he has taken on the subject is a break from the past.
“We are looking at the previous President that there are things that he did that are appreciated by other people.
‘‘Also, there are things that he did that individuals or organisations or institutions could not speak up on like the issue of Gukurahundi.
‘‘With the New Dispensation, we have this President who is saying let’s talk about Gukurahundi,” said Chief Nyangazonke.
He said while chiefs are expected to lead the process, his view was that the exercise should also incorporate other traditional leadership structures such as headmen and others as it should be all encompassing.
“We want to go to the people on a uniform basis. A lot of negative things have been said about the traditional leadership institution. But we have not done anything. We have not taken a position, we are just a link between the people and the Government,” he said.
Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said previously there was no commitment to address the matter.
“But when President Mnangagwa came to power, he openly encouraged citizens to speak out about the issue. He wants the chiefs to lead the process and does not want any political interference from any political party. So, this is an important part of the national building process,” said Minister Moyo. — @nqotshili