Govt, CSOs to sign MOU to fast-track issuance of documentation for Gukurahundi victims

The Matabeleland Civil Society and the government are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the issuance of documentation to Gukurahundi victims before the end of this month, CITE has established.

The MoU is part of the resolutions of the implementation matrix that was initiated in 2019 to deal with the Gukurahundi genocide and other developmental issues affecting the Matabeleland provinces.

Part of the resolutions under the implementation matrix was to fast-track the issuance of birth certificates, national identity documents and death certificates to victims of the genocide.

This implementation matrix was created after President Emmerson Mnangagwa met members of the Matabeleland Civic Society (formerly Matabeleland Collective) at Bulawayo State House three years ago, this meeting was described as part of efforts to solve Gukurahundi that has remained on the national agenda for decades.

Sources informed CITE that in an implementation matrix document prepared for an inter-ministerial taskforce for Political, Electoral and Legislative reforms ahead of the 2023 elections, the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs stated there was “good progress” on the delivery of this MoU.

This development comes after chiefs were mandated to take lead on a resolution of Gukurahundi in August 2021, a subsequent meeting was reportedly held on September 4, 2021, between the National Chiefs Council and Matabeleland Chiefs to draft a road map.

“The roadmap was validated by Matabeleland Chiefs in February 2022, whose outcome is the MoU to be signed by the end of July,” sources claimed.

Reached for comment, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Aaron Nhepera, whose ministry is in charge of documentation, confirmed the MOU between the government and civil society was ready and would be signed before the end of this month.

“The MoU is ready, what is left is for it to be signed,” he said in an interview with CITE by telephone.

“There were so many programmes in between and we had failed to find time but now it’s ready. It will be signed before the end of this month or early next month.”

Nhepera said the government was in talks with the concerned stakeholders.

 “We are just communicating with stakeholders to resolve certain issues. Generally, pointing that we will be collaborating to address the challenges that the president wanted us to work on,” he said.

However, when asked to explain more about the challenges that the stakeholders were facing regarding the resolution of Gukurahundi, the permanent secretary declined to comment, saying the journalist was digressing.

“We are now transgressing, I’ve given you sufficient detail. I am not supposed to give you information over the phone because I don’t know you,” Nhepera said.

In July last year, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Virginia Mabhiza, whose office was tasked with overseeing the implementation matrix, told CITE that Covid-19 had stalled progress in the issuance of documentation.

Leader of the Matabeleland Civil Society team that met with President Mnangagwa, Jenny Williams had previously announced there will be a national launch event on the issuance of national documentation in Bhalagwe, Matobo dis

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