THE Zipra Veterans’ Association has challenged Gukurahundi victims in Matabeleland and Midlands to take over control of the national healing, reconciliation and integration process currently being rolled out by the government and set up their own independent commission.
BY SILAS NKALA
Zipra secretary-general, Petros Sibanda made the remarks yesterday after Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) and civic society organisations in Matabeleland disrupted National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) committee consultations last week in protest over the committee’s composition.
“The ownership and terms in the process to the solution on Gukurahundi is with the people of Matabeleland setting up own commission with the view to engage government,” he said.
“Chiefs and church leaders of honest Matabele DNA of sound mind playing oversight role to guarantee progress and achievement of victims’ destiny. No to fraudsters!”
The NPRC visited Bulawayo on Tuesday to consult on national healing and reconciliation. The meeting was held at the Bretheren in Christ Church, where there was drama as activists, including MRP, Women of Zimbabwe Arise protested against being addressed by non-Ndebeles as the commission had only one Ndebele official.
Sibanda said the activists, who disrupted the NPRC meeting, did their part to highlight some of preliminary issues that should have been foreseen prior to meetings such as the composition of the team, which he said left a lot to be desired.
“All tribes should be represented that is Tonga, Sotho, Kalanga, Xhosa, Ndebele and so on,” he said.
“Also there were commissions before and their findings should be made public. The activists were demonstrating the need for transparency and seriousness on the whole programme for healing and reconciliation.”
Sibanda said unequal representation of tribes showed that other ethnic groups were still being sidelined by authorities.
He said the 1980s genocide that targeted Matabeleland and Midlands was based on the claims that the government wanted to crackdown on dissidents, but instead, the 5th Brigade targeted unarmed civilians.