Gukurahundi outreach programme is Mnangagwa’s personal project” – Ray Motsi

The Gukurahundi outreach programme is a personal project to President Emmerson Mnangagwa lacking a legal framework such that the chiefs will not achieve much in assisting the victims, a leading churchman has said.

These sentiments were said by Dr Ray Motsi, Principal of the Theological College of Zimbabwe (TCZ), who claimed the chiefs did not have powers to deal with criminal acts.

Even though the formal launch date of the Gukurahundi outreach project has yet to be declared, the National Chiefs Council claimed in a progress report to President Mnangwagwa at their fourth meeting last week in Bulawayo that the chiefs were prepared to handle the matter after receiving training.

In an interview with CITE’s The Breakfast Club, Dr Ray Motsi said the Gukurahundi outreach programme lacks sincerity as there was no legal framework.

“First and foremost, nobody knows exactly what the mandate is and what they intend to do with it. Secondly, we know there is no legal framework for that mandate. Thirdly, we are very much aware there is no budget because it’s not within the government per say,” Dr Motsi said.

“So there is no budget line within the system and therefore it is a personal project of the president and whatever he wishes is what is going to happen. This programme has no sincerity and I don’t think it’s serious as we would have loved it to be.”

Dr Motsi said the exclusion of ZAPU as a political party is a big issue as it was the main target of Gukurahundi.

“If this is a serious national agenda, surely ZAPU as the main official targets of Gukurahundi should have been the ones who have been allowed to lead and help people as they deal with this issue with the government,” he said.

“One of the biggest concerns that we have is the fact that Zanu PF does not consider any other political party in Zimbabwe. Zanu PF thinks they are the only ones and all other parties are not worthy to be considered as political parties.”

The human rights activist said if the process was genuine, there would have been a process and a time, where an acknowledgement of all the victims was made, regardless of location and offered assistance.

“To hear a statement that says the programme is only going to be limited in rural Matabeleland, shows that probably the scope of this process is not what most of us expected. As a result it may not be able to achieve whatever we thought it could achieve and hence we don’t really think it’s going to help a lot,” said Dr Motsi. 

Dr Motsi remarked that President Mnangagwa has just given people permission to discuss Gukurahundi, “nothing more or less.” 

“The chiefs have been given authority by the president and the president has some kind of executive powers to allow the chiefs to actually do that. Unfortunately, as a result of that the results in the findings cannot be taken anywhere else as a legal document because there is no legal framework under which they are being undertaken,” he said. 

“Normally, according to international standards they are supposed to have an acknowledgement of a ceasefire where the people that perpetrated are no longer in power and it means there is a level playing field, some kind of transitional justice mechanism to which somebody else then comes and arbitrates. This enables the two groups to speak together about what actually happened as equals but that is not actually happening right now because the government which is the perpetrator is the one that is saying, ‘we are now going to solve it.’ There is no fairness.” 

Dr Motsi added there is also a need to guarantee people’s protection from victimisation when they speak out.

“It’s not fair especially for the victims and this is what the problem is. Yes, probably there are police details which are assigned to chiefs whenever they are doing this but obviously their mandate won’t go further. The biggest challenge is when people come and talk about Gukurahundi because we know that according to the Chiefs’ Act, criminal issues are dealt with by the courts and not by the chiefs,” he said.

He added these were gaps that have not been explained.

“We wish to have answers and respond to people,” said Dr Motsi. 

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One Comment

  1. Reconciliation with the Gukurahundi genocide is being trivialized.. so expect nothing from the drama set-up being toyed around with..

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