Why Mnangagwa’s Gukurahundi plan is problematic

BY SIPHO MALUNGA

I have read the statement (by the government following a meeting between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Matabeleland chiefs in Bulawayo on Saturday).

It’s problematic.

This will not and cannot resolve Gukurahundi. What is a case by case basis?

What is tribalising Gukurahundi?

Gukurahundi was a genocide. It was systematic, so it must be resolved systematically.

It was a genocide, so it’s ethnic (tribal).

There is zero mention of accountability and justice. Zero acknowledgement and apology.

Zero mention of development redress.

Fixing Gukurahundi is not just about birth and death certificates, exhumations and reburials.

Gukurahundi is a major stumbling block to national coexistence.

Gukurahundi can be resolved, but there has to be serious political will.

Here’s a few suggestions to consider (not exhaustive):

  1. It’s late in the day but still the government must provide a national public apology and acknowledgement to all victims and the people of Matabeleland and Midlands and Zimbabwe as a whole.
  2. Establish a genuinely independent Gukurahundi Commission of Enquiry with powers to investigate, gather information and hear witnesses including victims and perpetrators and recommend solutions. And release the Chihambakwe Report.
  3. The commission must officially establish what led to Gukurahundi, why it happened, what exactly happened, and how it can be prevented from happening again.
  4. The Commission should identify and establish the full range of victims including those who disappeared.
  5. It should also document and establish the economic and developmental loss and the enduring Gukurahundi legacy of marginalisation of Matabeleland and its people.

6.The commission should establish, quantify and recommend the compensation for victims.

  1. It should identify and recommend suitable accountability/justice measures including lustration based on victim’s demands and objectives to address impunity.
  2. The commission should be mandated to facilitate reconciliation between perpetrators and victims where acknowledgement and apologies are provided and parties agree.
  3. The commission should operate independently of government because of the conflict of interest of current leaders regarding Gukurahundi.
  4. Government should adopt and implement the recommendations of the commission if full.

· Sipho Malunga is a human rights lawyer. Malunga first published this article on his Facebook page

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