Matabeleland communities seek apology over Gukurahundi atrocities

Matabeleland communities seek apology over Gukurahundi atrocities
Published: 20 February 2018 (197 Views)
COMMUNITY members from Matabeleland South Province have asked for an apology on the Gukurahundi disturbances as part of efforts to ensure reconciliation and national healing.

Speaking during a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) stakeholder consultative meeting held in Gwanda yesterday, residents also called for compensation for families that lost their property and relatives during the liberation war and the 1980s disturbances.

The NPRC yesterday started consultations as part of the process leading to the National Convergence and Dialogue Conference followed by the Strategic Planning workshop.

The meetings are meant to enhance stakeholder awareness of the NPRC and for stakeholders to contribute their ideas into the committee's strategic priorities and to map the local and regional level capacities for peace, healing and healing.

"We don't have peace in Matabeleland South Province because of outstanding issues such as Gukurahundi. This era wasn't explained to us on why these killings were necessitated in the first place.

"We want the commission to facilitate this process. We want the perpetrators to come to the ground and publicly explain to us and give us an apology for what they did and until this happens we will never be at peace as a province," said a community member, Mr Bekezela Maduma.

Also speaking at the same meeting, Mangwe Rural District Council Chairperson, Mr Roland Mafesi Ncube said there was a need for families that lost their homes and property during the liberation war to be compensated.

He said many families accommodated liberation war heroes and provided them with food resulting in their homesteads being burnt down and their relatives being killed but were never compensated by government.

"Matabeleland region is lagging behind in developmental issues compared to other provinces which are at an advanced stage. Resources have to be distributed equally across the country because at the moment they are concentrated in some provinces.

"The commission has to ensure that the province is compensated for its lack of development. This region deserves equal recognition as its residents equally contributed in liberating this country. At the moment we are treated as second class citizens," he said.

A councillor from Gwanda Town, Mr Thulani Moyo said a number of citizens from Matabeleland South Province did not have crucial documentation such as birth certificates and National Identity cards as their parents were either killed during the liberation war or during the 1980s disturbances.

He urged the commission to prioritise securing documentation for them.

Residents from the province also called for decentralisation of power saying key decisions were being done in Harare.

They also called on the commission to extend their consultative meetings to rural areas as that was where the worst affected people were located. Others said there was a need for proper burials for those who died and those who lost their relatives must be assisted to obtain death certificates.   They said there are mass graves such as Balagwe disused mine where bodies were dumped and such places should be turned into national shrines.

Addressing stakeholders, NPRC deputy chairperson, Mrs Lilian Chigwedere said the commission was on a mission to gather the views of citizens on peace, reconciliation and national healing.

She said the team, comprising eight commissioners had a mandate to hold meetings in all provinces and record people's grievances.

In a speech read on his behalf by Matabeleland South Provincial Administrator, Ms Sithandiwe Ncube, the Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs, Abednico Ncube applauded the new Government under President Emmerson Mnangangwa for making significant strides in promoting national peace and unity.

- chronicle

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