Govt Gukurahundi roadmap tragically slow: Watchdog

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year appointed chiefs to lead public hearings towards addressing Gukurahundi.

A PEACEBUILDING watchdog, Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT), says addressing Gukurahundi needs a comprehensive approach centred on truth telling to prevent future tragedies.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year appointed chiefs to lead public hearings towards addressing Gukurahundi.

The chiefs have not started the public hearings and they  only received  training on how to conduct them last month.

They also received laptops, recorders and printers to document the public hearings.

HZT advocacy officer, Tapiwanashe Chiriga, expressed concern over the half-hearted approach by authorities in addressing the massacres.

“While we take note of the efforts by the government to engage traditional leaders to resolve Gukurahundi, we contend that this is simply not enough and the rate at which this is happening is tragically slow,” Chiriga said.

“Any attempt to resolve Gukurahundi and other dark moments of our history must involve all five pillars of transitional justice, namely truth, justice, reparations, memorialisation and guarantees against recurrence through institutional reforms.”

“Government and Parliament must amend the Constitution to transform and strengthen the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) into a truth, peace, justice and reconciliation institution that effects national healing and transitional justice that is victim centred and reflective of the desire to build social cohesion and true national unity.”

At least 20 000 civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands were killed during Gukurahundi when the late Robert Mugabe deployed a North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade to fight alleged dissidents.

The majority of the victims were supporters of PF Zapu.

Mugabe died before offering an apology and compensation to the victims and only acknowledged the massacres as a moment of madness.

Mugabe blocked public debate on Gukurahundi until he died.

“We agree with the government that traditional leaders play a critical role in resolving Gukurahundi but we believe the whole process must be led by a strengthened, reformed and independent NPRC working with civil society, traditional leaders and the church while putting victims and survivors at the centre of process,” Chiriga said.

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