PRESIDENT Mnangagwa landed in Bulawayo yesterday to launch today the traditional leaders-led Gukurahundi public consultations during a meeting that will see the engagements roadmap being outlined.
He will launch the programme at State House in the city and chiefs will also be in attendance.
The traditional leaders have already produced a working manual which will guide them as they conduct public hearings on Gukurahundi.
The Second Republic has committed to working towards national healing.
After today’s launch, traditional leaders are expected to lead public hearings and also come up with resolutions on what needs to be done to heal society. During a press briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Mr Nick Mangwana said President Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans will learn more of the Gukurahundi public hearings road map after today’s meeting.
“His Excellency, the President arrived today for the launch of the community engagement and consultation meeting regarding the Gukurahundi conflict. He is in town and the function will be at State House tomorrow,” said Mr Mangwana during the press conference that was also attended by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary Mrs Virginia Mabiza.
He said today’s engagement is a confirmation that the Second Republic is walking the talk in terms of addressing concerns of Zimbabweans.
Gukurahundi remains an unfortunate chapter in the country’s history and members of the public in Matabeleland provinces have blamed it for contributing to under development in the region.
Some families of victims of Gukurahundi were reportedly failing to obtain national documents.
President Mnangagwa had to intervene, instructing the Civil Registry Department to relax stringent conditions that were contributing to members of the public failing to obtain the national identity documents.”Tomorrow His Excellency, the President will be launching the beginning of the consultation and engagement process in the communities regarding the past conflict cases of Gukurahundi and the issues that came from that. He will be engaging the chiefs and setting them off to go and meet their communities,” said Mr Mangwana.
He said traditional leaders were selected to lead the process as they are at the heart of where Gukurahundi occurred and understand community challenges better.
“Chiefs are the leaders of the people. Therefore, the leaders of the people will be meeting their communities,” he said.
Mr Mangwana said traditional leaders are the custodians of cultural practices and they are best suited to understand what needs to be done to conduct cultural rituals.
He said chiefs have been independently operating in preparing for the coming public hearings.
Mr Mangwana said Government is not even aware of the contents of the working manual that traditional leaders produced.
He said officials will also learn of its contents tomorrow as they make their presentation to President Mnangagwa before they start engaging communities. “We have no idea on what is in the manual, it shows that chiefs take full ownership of that document. They are the leaders; they own it so there is no interference from Government regarding their manual. They probably came up with that after consulting the communities. So, we can say it is owned by the chiefs and also owned by the communities,” said Mr Mangwana.
President Mnangagwa in his Unity Day message last year in December said he had made it his personal mission to resolve the Gukurahundi issue and created a united nation.
He said the country has to confront the past no matter how dark it is. “We have to boldly confront and tackle the aftermath of that era; heal wounds it left in its wake, and where possible, assuage persistent difficulties and challenges traceable to it. This, I am resolved to do until we remove whatever bitter memories may still exist, and are likely to linger,” said President Mnangagwa.
“We are the generation that must resolve issues of early Independence conflict, so we release our children to move forward and ahead as a united people.”
He encouraged the nation to respect the process being undertaken by chiefs to resolve the emotive Gukurahundi matter.