By Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa continues with his mission to calm tensions in Matabeleland with a scheduled meeting this Saturday with civic groups that have condemned his administration for ignoring past killings and the continued marginalisation of the region.
According to justice ministry secretary Virginia Mabhiza, Mnangagwa will also try to seal the emotive subject of reburying victims of the early 1980s military atrocities buried in shallow graves.
Mnangagwa remains a hated figure in the predominantly Ndebele region following his role in the so-called Gukurahundi atrocities on an estimated 20 000 civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
The victims were being accused of harbouring armed dissidents from the national army.
However, since becoming President 2017, Mnangagwa has bravely embarked on a mission to face survivors of the atrocities through offers to rebury the victims and also facilitate the issuing of birth certificates to victims’ offspring.
Mnangagwa is set to meet civil society groups coalescing under the umbrella Matabeleland Collective.
Matabeleland Collective comprises NGOs, faith-based organisations, community-based organisations, trusts, savings clubs and social movements from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South.
Said information ministry permanent secretary Nick Mangwana, “This is a follow-up of a programme that has already started and His Excellency does not start something and not see it to its logical conclusion.
“The issue of Gukurahundi, past marginalisation within this region is an issue which His Excellency is seized with and close to his heart.
“Even under lockdown, he has decided that we need to continue to follow through to see everything to finality and good end.”
Justice ministry secretary Mabhiza, said Mnangagwa will soon launch a programme for the issuance of birth and death certificates for victims of Gukurahundi.
“The issues are mostly to do with birth and death certificates for victims of Gukurahundi and we are also looking at the issue of exhumations, which is currently being handled by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.
“Our bigger vision is to conduct a launch and His Excellency is going to launch the issuance of births and death certificates in a province of his choice in Matabeleland. We are also looking into the issues of exhumations.
“We are here as a follow-up to the July meeting and this is basically a follow-up on issues that we have discussed with the civic society based in Bulawayo.
“This is not about Gukurahundi issues only but other broader developmental issues affecting the region. There is a lot of progress so far around the issues under discussion.”