Mnangagwa to launch Gukurahundi consultative process

President Emmerson Mnangagwa will, Monday, launch the start of the Chiefs’ consultative and engagement process in communities which were affected by the Gukurahundi genocide.

The Gukurahundi genocide, a state-sponsored operation that killed an estimated 20,000 people in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the 1980s, remains a thorn in Mnangagwa’s administration, with victims demanding acknowledgement, apology, and justice from perpetrators, some of whom are still in government today.

As part of efforts to solve the matter, President Mnangagwa met members of the Matabeleland Civic Society (formerly Matabeleland Collective) three years ago at Bulawayo State House to discuss the atrocities has remained on the national agenda for decades. 

During one of the subsequent meetings, the president tasked chiefs with taking the lead in resolving Gukurahundi, a move which was criticized by some. 

The chiefs, on the other hand, have developed a framework that they will present at the State House on Monday.

Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana confirmed the news, saying President Mnangagwa had arrived in Bulawayo to prepare for the meeting.

“Tomorrow, President Mnangagwa will be at Bulawayo State House to launch the beginning of the consultative and engagement process in the communities regarding Gukurahundi. The president will be engaging chiefs and setting them off to go,” he said at a press conference in Bulawayo on Sunday evening.

According to the government spokesperson, since Gukurahundi occurred in rural areas, chiefs who are leaders of those people would take charge, as mandated by the president.

“Some of the issues involved in Gukurahundi – exhumations, documentation of victims and cultural practices will be dealt with tomorrow in the meeting between President Mnangagwa and chiefs,” Mangwana said.

He also stated that neither the government nor President Mnangagwa knew what was in the consultation framework that chiefs were to present.

“There has been no interference from the government and that framework is owned by chiefs and their communities,” said Mangwana.

Mangwana also stated that the manner in which the consultation process with communities will proceed would be revealed only after tomorrow’s meeting.

“The chiefs will be guided by the president, he said, adding “We don’t want to preempt anything but this is a precursor for that nation to have a soft landing of what ye president has been up to. In any case, we don’t know how it will go. 

“This is not a bureaucratic exercise where things are being done because they have already been done, no. Nothing has been done, so nothing is known. We will know tomorrow.”

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