VICE PRESIDENT Kembo Mohadi says government was using traditional chiefs to resolve past conflicts, among them the 1980s Gukurahundi atrocities that killed 20 000 civilians in Matebeleland and Midlands provinces in the early years of Zimbabwe’s independence.
Mohadi was speaking at a meeting with chiefs from Matebeleland North province in Bulawayo on Thursday.
“Chiefs can play this very critical role of peace building and conflict resolution if they are men and women of integrity and high moral and ethical values,” Mohadi said.
“By making our cultural approach the foundation of our peace building architecture, I am not ignoring or playing down other institutions that are involved in peace building and conflict resolution like church, civic society and constitution commissions,” said vice President Mohadi.
Mohadi urged the nation to come up with constructive discussions aimed at resolving the conflicts so as to allow a hurting nation to move forward.
“There are conflicts of the past that make peace building difficult. What are these conflicts of the past in Matebeleland North and how can we resolve them according to our culture in order for our people to live in peace and harmony.
“Let us engage in a constructive discussion so as to come up with ways to resolve these conflicts in order for our nation to move forward,” said VP Mohadi.
In an apparent veiled reference to firebrand Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni, Mohadi advised young chiefs to have “values of their ancestors”.
“I am aware that we have a good number of our chiefs who are young. However, if they follow the traditional values of their ancestors, they will be able to earn the respect of their people even in their youth.
“However, our young chiefs should realise that they have the challenge of earning the respect of their people. They should also know that wisdom comes with age and experience,” he said.
Chief Ndiweni has irked some government officials following his call for the imposition of more sanctions on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government saying it has failed to uphold the country’s laws.
Chief Ndiweni boycotted Thursday’s meeting saying he was not invited.