BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has expressed anger over its recent snub by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who went on to task chiefs to lead the exhumation and reburial of Gukurahundi victims’ remains.
Mnangagwa last Saturday met traditional leaders from Matabeleland and Midlands provinces and tasked them with leading the process following public reservations over government’s involvement.
The Zanu PF leader, believed to have engineered the mass killings during his tenure as State Security minister, also pledged to facilitate the issuance of identification documents for the survivors.
The NPRC Bulawayo provincial committee recently met and expressed displeasure over government’s handling of the matter.
NPRC chairperson Justice Selo Nare said as a commission, they were not happy with government’s decision to shut them out of the process and to task chiefs to lead the exhumations and reburials.
“The big issue is that, we were not invited to the recent meeting with the President and we have heard that the chiefs will be taking part in the exhumation process which was one of the mandates of the NPRC,” he said.
“We do not have information about the recent meeting, but this is what we are hearing from the media.”
Commission members also complained about a reconciliation report Vice-President Kembo Mohadi recently presented in Parliament without their knowledge.
“We have two reports for 2018 and 2019. These reports are produced by the commission and staff after it has been through the responsible minister, in this case Mohadi. We send these reports to him and he has a meeting with the Cabinet ministers before the final report is produced,” Nare said.
“As we speak, the final report has not yet been finalised. The reports are from us the commissioners and staff and there is no input from the committees. The upcoming reports will, however, have inputs from committees as you are also stakeholders.”
The commissioners said they felt left out, with Mnangagwa preferring to work with chiefs and non-governmental organisations under the banner of Matabeleland Collectives.
“We feel like NPRC has been left out. We are surprised that such things are happening without our knowledge as committee members,” said the committee member.
“It’s like the President wants to meet with Matabeleland Collectives, and chiefs and NPRC is being left out.”
The committee also complained over lack of funding.
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) estimated that 20 000 people were killed during Gukurahundi in Matabeleland and Midlands between 1983 and 1987 as government pursued perceived ex-Zipra dissidents.
Although the late former President Robert Mugabe later described the massacres as “a moment of madness”, he nonetheless declined to publicly apologise.