Matabeleland Forum Rubbishes ED’s Gukurahundi ‘Talk-Show’ Meetings

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE Matabeleland Forum, a splinter group from the Matabeleland Collective, has rubbished President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s last weekend meeting with its rival group, describing it as a mere “talk-show”.

Matabeleland Forum insists any effort to redress the Gukurahundi atrocities should avoid useless talk-shows and must include affected individuals and survivors.

Mnangagwa last Saturday met some Matabeleland-based civil society organisations under the Jenni Williams-led Matabeleland Collective.

At the meeting, he pledged to expedite the issuance of death and birth certificates to all Gukurahundi victims.

The meeting has, however, attracted the wrath of some Bulawayo-based opposition political and civil society organisations who accuse Williams and her colleagues of lacking the mandate of speaking on behalf of the affected communities.

“Efforts that seek to promote reconciliation with regards to Gukurahundi genocide should avoid tokenism and must place the affected individuals and survivors at the forefront. Truth-telling must be conducted ahead of any compensation or assistance to the victims or survivors,” the Forum said in a statement.

It called for a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) coordinated, inclusive, and holistic process to address the emotive issue.

“We submit that all processes should be coordinated by the NPRC. An inclusive and holistic approach must be considered to ensure there is sustainable conflict transformation within affected communities.

“As a Forum, we do not support any reconciliation process that does not recognise principles that promote victim or community-centered approaches, truth-telling and conflict transformation,” said the group.

It also objected to the government’s involvement in the exhumation of the remains of people who died as a result of the atrocities.

“Exhumation of the remains of deceased persons during the Gukurahundi genocide should be guided by a policy framework in accordance with the Constitution and international norms. Non-state actors should be allowed to present evidence-based reports on the political, social, and economic impact of the Gukurahundi genocide before the relevant parliamentary portfolio committees.”

The grouping also expressed concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.

“We are concerned that human rights in Zimbabwe continue to deteriorate in spite of the calls to the government to uphold the Constitution through statements submitted civil society organisations, faith-based organisations and the international community.”

Members of Matabeleland Forum include; Habakkuk Trust, WILD, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA), Victory Siyanqoba, DD Foundation, and Ibhetshu Likazulu.