‘Victim-friendly’ approach to be adopted for Gukurahundi hearings

Tichaona Zindoga

Review & Mail Peace Journalism Centre

The process to find closure over the 1980s internal conflict in Zimbabwe, known as Gukurahundi, is set to be “victim-friendly”, authorities have stated.

Last Friday, President Mnangagwa addressed Matabeleland chiefs and revealed that hearings, due commence this quarter, and other measures would focus on ensuring social healing and the process would be “comprehensive, transparent, and victim-centred.”

He also assured that the process would ensure “that every voice is heard, and every story is acknowledged” following capacity building of those handling it.

A manual developed by local chiefs has been adopted while Government has set aside a budget for the process, presumably including compensation.

“Our dedication to the resolution of the Gukurahundi issue is unwavering,” President Mnangagwa said.

“We understand the need for closure,” he said.

“While we hope that this process will not extend beyond a year, we are prepared to invest the time required to bring about a resolution that is just, comprehensive, and accepted by all parties involved.”

President Mnangagwa also announced that the budget for the Gukurahundi Community Outreach Programme is confirmed and in place.

“We are committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in this process, and the figures will be reviewed before being made public. Let us remember that this journey is not just about addressing the wounds of the past, it is about building a stronger, more united Zimbabwe for the future,” he said.

He cautioned about challenges that may derail the exercise.

Said he: “As we approach the official launch in the first quarter of this year, I want to acknowledge the challenges we face. Disinformation and political posturing have attempted to cast a shadow over our efforts.

“This is not a recent phenomenon, the Unity Agreement of 1987, which serves as the foundation of our current initiative, was consummated against the efforts of hostile elements some of which were instrumental in the sowing of seeds of division amongst us.”

The Unity Accord of 22 December 1087 marked ghe formal end of hostilities, blamed for the death of thousands of people, and joined the two former liberation movements, Zanu and PF Zapu into one ruling party that had the late statesmen Robert Mugabe as President and Joshua Nkomo as vice.

President Mnangagwa said despite challenges, the nation stood united, driven by a shared commitment to reconciliation, and healing.

He saw hope from the long-divisive issue that has had ethnic and regional dimensions among Zimbabweans, especially the majority Shona-speaking in the North of the country and minority Ndebele groups in the southern regions.

President Mnangagwa said: “May this initiative be a beacon of hope, paving the way for healing, understanding, and a brighter future for all Zimbabweans.”

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