THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) says it has crafted a framework to manage the contentious Gukurahundi atrocities, covering issues such as exhumations and summoning of the alleged perpetrators among other issues.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The government has since the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987 dithered on dealing with the Matabeleland atrocities, with former President Robert Mugabe only describing the mass killings as “a moment of madness”.
NPRC commissioner Leslie Ncube recently told Southern Eye that the commission was geared to finding a lasting solution to the emotive issue.
“We are almost complete with our strategic plan and validation process. Once we refine it, we will start summoning people regardless of who they are. No one is above the law.
“We will also deal with issues to do with exhumation of victims of the atrocities who are buried in shallow graves,” Ncube revealed this at an NPRC facilitated political parties’ provincial peace pledge signing ceremony on Tuesday in Bulawayo.
Remains of the Gukurahundi victims continue to be uncovered in some parts of Matabeleland, particularly in Lupane and Maphisa, which bore the brunt of the mass killings. However, there has not been any
government-sanctioned exhumations, forensics or reburials.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has distanced himself from the 1980s disturbances, arguing the NPRC and traditional leaders were best placed to tackle the issue.
Early this year, Mnangagwa signed into law an NPRC Bill to guide the commission on dealing with the atrocities, but little or nothing has been done. The few meeting that were organised by NPRC in Matabeleland were disrupted by Mthwakazi activists who were protesting the composition of the commission, which had only one Ndebele official.
Mugabe, then Prime Minister, unleashed a North Korean-trained militia to crack on alleged dissent to his rule in Midlands and Matabeleland, resulting in the death of about 20 000 defenceless civilians, according to the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice.
In 2011, Genocide Watch, alongside the International Association of Genocide Scholars, classified the Gukurahundi as genocide.
Ncube said consultative meetings done by the NPRC reveal that the country’s provinces differed on the approach to national healing.
“Generally provinces differed on the approach to national healing. For example, people in Matabeleland South argue that the healing process should start from the Gukurahundi atrocities from 1983 to 1987.
“In Manicaland, the people there prioritise the Chiyadzwa killings while in Mashonaland the people there are mostly concerned about the political violence which occurred between 2000 and 2008,” Ncube said.