Gukurahundi exhumations must stop: Mudenda

Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda has said that exhumations of Gukurahundi victims must stop until a law that will set clear guidelines on how to go about the process is in place.

Mudenda argued that exhumations were a delicate process that had to be handled with due care in order not to destroy the remains.

Speaking at a capacity building workshop held in Bulawayo Monday organised by the Portfolio Committee of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Mudenda said exhumations were supposed to be done properly and meticulously in order to identify the particular body and this on its own was why a law was needed urgently.

“It is my humble submission that these exhumations should stop until we get the law in place that will guide us accordingly for example I would have been happy if the law was in place which will include among other things the question of forensic DNA testing to identify the deceased particularly when we have a situation where three, four, five or even more people were buried in one grave.

“How do you identify that even if you have a spiritual connection with the ancestors, the process might be pendulous and subject to some mistakes in identification,” he said.

In April, President Emmerson Mnangagwa pledged to facilitate the exhumation and reburial of Gukurahundi victims, provision of counselling and medical assistance to victims and survivors.

Mudenda said there is need to engage institutions such as National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in the processes of exhumations.

“You have NUST here, it is highly developed forensic DNA testing, I think as you prepare for the exhumations processes you need to engage the University,” he said.

“Ministry of Home Affairs has to give you the law as it is enacted by the Parliament.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Retired Justice Sello Nare said chiefs felt left out in the processes of the exhumations.

“There was a concern from chiefs in particular that certain procedures have not been followed, also experts felt left out. There was exhumation in Tsholotsho but the direction of the speaker is how to handle such situations.

“There is a need for involvement of the army, the police, government ministries then the final thing to do for the exhumations can take place.”

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