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Gukurahundi a very sensitive issue: NPRC



NATIONAL Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) deputy chairperson Lillian Chigwedere yesterday told Parliament that the Gukurahundi genocide of the 1980s was a very sensitive issue which still needs to be navigated with caution.

Appearing before the joint committees of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs led by Levy Mayihlome (Zanu PF) and the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Peace and Security led by Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T), she said if the massacres were not addressed, the consequences could be serious.

“As a commission, we want to do everything possible to avert a situation that happened in the Rwandan genocide because the issue of Gukurahundi, as you can see, has remained unaddressed for years,” Chigwedere said.

“There are deeper issues to be addressed and as a commission, we acknowledge that atrocities were committed and we have gone to Matabeleland before and noted that we cannot continue to postpone the issue.”

She said the NPRC had begun to engage different stakeholders with a view to coming up with a strategy that would place issues of victims at the centre of the commission so that the victims were given platforms and space to air their concerns.

“For any conflict, there are two sides to it — the afflicted and the side that afflicts and so as a commission, we are seized with engagement so that we can come up with the best solution to this issue so that it does not flare up into another conflict,” Chigwedere said.

“We acknowledge that this is a very serious matter, but we know that careless use of language could flare up things like what happened recently. At times as a commission, we also need to understand that there is a certain manner in which we need to address these issues.”

Recently, NPRC spokesperson Obert Gutu came under fire after he described the Gukurahundi atrocities as only “a small, tiny fraction” of the conflicts”, forcing the commission’s chairperson, Selo Maselo Nare to apologise.

Chigwedere further told Parliament that peace-building was a process and could not be achieved in one day.

“The issue of Gukurahundi is a sensitive issue, it is an issue that needs navigation with the aim of addressing all the grievances,” she said.

“We don’t build peace in one day. It is a process of navigation, a process of engagement until we get to a situation you find that all these backgrounds efforts will lead us to where a solution will be found.”

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