Zim sets up Gukurahundi Committee

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Ndaka Majaka

THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) says it has formed a Gukurahundi Thematic Committee, mostly tasked with fostering healing in the Matabeleland region and Midlands province following the Gukurahundi post-independence disturbances that occurred in these parts.

The Commission’s Deputy Chairperson, Lilian Chigwedere, last week told ZTN that the Gukurahundi Thematic Committee – which comes in as the sixth such committee for the Commission would be  seized with addressing imbalances such as  reburials for Gukurahundi victims, the documentation of Gukurahundi victims without identity particulars and ensuring victims were decently buried.

Building sustainable peace is also a top priority for the committee.

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The NPRC has been gearing for exhumations and reburials of Gukurahundi victims since last year.

“There are many issues in Matabeleland and what the commission has started doing is to put together a committee, a Gukurahundi Thematic Committee.

“This is something that is new. If it were not for the Covid-19 pandemic we would have launched it last month. We have already identified organisations and people in Matabeleland who are closer to the situation, to assist us in identifying people that may need birth certificates, reburials,” Commissioner Chigwedere said.

She added that the Gukurahundi Thematic Committee would address other burning social issues in the Matabeleland region and Midlands province, like difficulties being encountered in obtaining national identification documents.

“Yes, you are right that the issue of birth certificates is a thorny issue. It is something that arose as we were doing our outreaches. It was one of the prominent things that were raised,” Commissioner Chigwedere said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year pledged to ensure the capacitation of the Government with resources for the exhumation and reburial of Gukurahundi victims, the documentation of Gukurahundi victims without identity particulars, provision of medical services to victims and holding of public meetings.

However, the NPRC has been forced to suspend public hearings because of the Covid-19 pandemic.