By Bulawayo Correspondent
FORMER ZIPRA cadres have demanded to be part of the Gukurahundi resolution stakeholders, warning that any efforts to resolve the longstanding conflict without them and ZAPU members will not yield the desired results.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa last month met members of the national Council of Chiefs in Bulawayo and resolved to mandate the traditional leaders to address the emotive Gukurahundi issue.
During the meeting, the chiefs also handed Mnangagwa a manual which will guide the conduct of the Gukurahundi hearing meetings which the chiefs will preside over.
The former ZIPRA cadres on Saturday held its annual general meeting in Bulawayo.
During the meeting, the former freedom fighters poked holes into the government’s current Gukurahundi resolution initiatives.
“The Gukurahundi national issue has forced government to assign chiefs to spearhead the national healing process for a lasting solution.
ZIPRA veterans from the start on these negations concerning this Gukurahundi issue were much involved and made some demands that the government led by Zanu PF should first of all hand over the ZIPRA /ZAPU Nitram properties to its rightful owners before it can seek a lasting solution to this contentious issue.
“The ZIPRA veterans also gave their perceived guidelines on the issue and how it can be solved. Generally, we expect the government to compensate for the collateral demands of the people of Matebeleland and Midlands provinces on the issue of properties confiscated by Mugabe in the early 80s. These issues left us bewildered,” said ZIPRA Veterans Association secretary Petros Ndlovu in an interview soon after the annual general meeting.
Ndlovu said before the commencement of the atrocities’ resolution, Mnangagwa should offer a public apology as well as avail all Gukurahundi reports compiled by different commissions.
“ZIPRA veterans are calling on the Zimbabwean President to acknowledge the atrocities committed by the North Korean trained 5th brigade then offer an apology followed by truth telling , reparations ,reconciliation and since this issue is an ancestral problem, it needs a generational solution where we want what we call restorative justice and compensation,” said the ZIPRA veterans secretary.
He argued that for almost 15 years soon after the genocide, Matebeleland and Midlands provinces were neglected by the government.
“Because of that era of development recession, the two provinces require free education to the young generation, road constructions and rehabilitation, mourning 4time as well as spiritual memorials.
“Yes, the chiefs have been handed a manual document on how to go about collecting information and data but as ZIPRA veterans we insist on the government ‘s need to release the Gukurahundi reports such as the (Enock) Dumbutshena, Chihambakwe and the Roman Catholic Commission reports so as to make the new findings led by chiefs more comprehensive and compatible .
“The main victims, that is ZAPU and ZIPRA members, should also not be left out when trying to find a lasting solution to this contentious issue which is a recipe for civil strife if left unresolved,” he said.
Ndlovu also called for a Gukurahundi parliament policy document for legal references.
He argued that the current chiefs Gukurahundi manual is not legally binding.