By Bulawayo Correspondent
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa Friday met controversial Matebeleland traditional leader and fierce government critic Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni but details of the closed-door indaba were not yet made public.
Ndiweni has openly criticised Mnangagwa and last month attended the MDC elective congress in Gweru where he described the Zanu PF number one as an “illegitimate” State leader.
The outspoken chief also endorsed MDC president Nelson Chamisa as the “people’s president”.
On Friday, Mnangagwa was meeting traditional leaders from the Midlands and Matebeleland provinces.
The western regions of the country were targeted for government led atrocities commonly referred to as Gukurahundi in which some 20 000 civilians are said to have lost their lives.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Mnangagwa said the Gukurahundi issue had been top of the agenda with chiefs demanding “a truth and reconciliation commission” that the Zanu PF leader described as a platform for people to tell all.
“The other issue was the issue of Gukurahundi. The provinces have put forward methods of dealing with the issue of Gukurahundi. The issue affected many communities over which they preside and we need to deal with it,” said Mnangagwa.
At the end of the indaba, Ndiweni left the venue without saying a word, leaving Mnangagwa to do all the talking after the meeting.
The President added that the traditional leaders demanded a “platform” that will allow stakeholders to freely speak about the issue.
“They (chiefs) in their resolutions want us as government to create a platform where people will participate substantially because it is the communities which they preside over that were affected.
“We should not have a solo dialogue but we should have a single platform where this issue can be discussed,” said Mnangangwa.
The President said the traditional leaders also raised concerns around employment into the security services along tribal lines.
“The other issue relates to employment or recruitment of staff into government, as well as young people in the security sector. These are areas that have been pointed out which they are not happy with. I have assured our traditional leaders that the areas that are weak should be corrected so that there is fairness in recruiting people into the security sector,” Mnangagwa said.
The issue of food insecurity in the perennially dry western regions of the country also came up for discussion.
“The lack of food security in the provinces was also discussed and the traditional leaders wanted to make government aware of the situation. There are other social issues discussed like education and roads infrastructure,” added the President.
The meeting was also attended by Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira, Deputy Local Government Minister Jennifer Mhlanga and traditional leaders from Matabeleland North, South, Bulawayo Metropolitan province and the Midlands.