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‘ONLY CHIEFS FROM MATEBELELAND AND MIDLANDS PROVINCES will participate in reburials of victims as part of the national healing process’-President of the Chiefs’ Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira has said only chiefs from Matabeleland and Midlands provinces whose people were affected by Gukurahundi will participate in reburials of victims as part of the national healing process.
Government will now only be involved in funding the process as part of initiatives to address the emotive issue and promote greater national healing. Also, Government is set to start issuing essential national documents such as birth certificates to children of some of the people affected by Gukurahundi.
Since he came to power, President Mnangagwa has lived up to his promise to address and openly discuss issues and challenges surrounding the disturbances that happened in the 1980s in order to promote national healing and development.
Speaking during the relaunch of the Zunde raMambo/ Isiphala se Nkosi programme at Chief Mapanzure’s homestead in Zvishavane on Saturday, Chief Charumbira said traditional leaders from the affected provinces will be involved in reburials contrary to some media reports that all the chiefs across the country were going to take part in the programme.“We have heard lies being thrown in the media. They are saying we have been captured to white-wash the Gukurahundi reburials. Well, let me make it clear that is not the case. Only chiefs from Matabeleland and Midlands provinces who have their people affected by Gukurahundi will partake in the programme,” he said.
It was impossible, Chief Charumbira said, for, for example, a chief from Mashonaland to be involved in the reburial of victims from Midlands.
“How can a chief from Mashonaland go and start leading the reburials that may happen in Tsholotsho? That is not practical. That is not possible. The position is that chiefs in whose area there are graves and there is need for burials, then those will take part in those programmes,” he said.
Chief Charumbira said the rest of the chiefs under the Chiefs’ Council just endorsed an initiative for traditional leaders taking leadership in the process of addressing Gukurahundi issues.
He said as the Government inches towards closure and healing from the period through collective dialogue, it is the role of the chiefs to support the initiative as they are the custodians of cultural values.
Chief Charumbira said it was shocking that there were some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) funded by Western countries that wanted to sensationalise the matter so as to divide people and their Government.
He said NGOs should stick to their mandate as given by the Government and not to cause mayhem and despondency.
“We are saying no to NGOs that divide the people, that tell lies, that have an agenda to discredit our Government.
The Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa has been sincere, has been honest and is working towards national healing. We must all support such initiatives,” said Chief Charumbira.
He said there was no room for tribalism in Zimbabwe adding that as traditional chiefs, they were all united and behind President Mnangagwa and his vision.
“There is no room for tribalism in Zimbabwe. From the communities we stay in, we say no to tribalism. We urge you to be like the chiefs who work together and that is a Zimbabwe we want as we walk towards Vision 2030,” said Chief Charumbira.
Present at the relaunch were members of the Chiefs’ Council who included Chief Mtshane Khumalo.
President Mnangagwa has made a commitment to confront the country’s difficult past by resolving outstanding issues associated with the disturbances that took place soon after Independence.
Government is also set to start issuing civic documents to children of the victims of the disturbances, including death certificates for those who died.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ meeting with tertiary institutions in Matabeleland in Bulawayo on Monday, the Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda said Government is in the process of working on a law that will be used as a guideline when the process of reburials of Gukurahundi victims starts. chronicle