Chief Mathema of Gwanda has challenged the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to visit rural areas in Matabeleland and talk to communities who actually experienced Gukurahundi, instead of limiting their outreach meetings to urban centres.
The traditional leader laid out this challenge to the NPRC at the launch of the Churches Convergence on Peace (CCOP), a peace promotion initiative by churches in Bulawayo on Thursday.
NPRC has partnered churches to work in communities to foster peaceful conflict resolution mechanisms.
“There is a wound that needs to heal. It is known by everyone even though some don’t want to openly talk about it. We are here talking about preserving peace but there are people who need to be healed otherwise they will continue becoming angry. To heal we should make sure people engage in honest dialogue about what is affecting them,” Chief Mathema said referring to the emotive Gukurahundi massacres.
The vocal chief urged the NPRC to openly engage with communities who were affected by Gukurahundi as they were the ones who could proffer possible solutions.
“Go talk to people in the rural areas, come to my constituency in Matabeleland South, the people are willing to talk and can tell you how this matter should be handled,” he noted.
“The NPRC should be doing its mandate and relieve people of their pain by enabling them to talk about their experiences.”
The Chief confirmed Gukurahundi was still an issue, which without closure could not bring healing.
“This matter is still a problem as people need to release their pent up anger. NPRC you should relieve the people of their pain because we have elderly people who up to today relive those horrors and memories. The grandmothers need to voice out what is affecting them,” he told the NPRC.
Gukurahundi is a sensitive subject in the country as authorities are reluctant to take decisive action.
The matter has also caused a schism in the National Chief`s Council, with traditional leaders from Matabeleland calling for an independent commission to investigate the atrocities.