BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda yesterday called on the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to bring closure to Gukurahundi before the 2023 elections.
Mudenda made the call at an NPRC induction workshop for commissioners held in Harare.
“Parliament is desirous to see how the NPRC leverages its constitutional mandate vis-à-vis the salutary efforts by the Council of Chiefs as guided by the President, in bringing closure to the Gukurahundi unfortunate historical incident before the 2023 harmonised elections,” he said.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has opened public discussions on Gukurahundi, but there has been little movement towards finding a lasting peace-building solution towards the emotive issue, with victims accusing him of insincerity.
Mnangagwa has also met chiefs to discuss the emotive subject at the Bulawayo State House, where it was resolved that traditional leaders would lead processes towards finding closure.
Over 20 000 civilians died after the late former President Robert Mugabe deployed a North Korea-trained military unit in Matabeleland and Midlands between 1983 and 1987 to crack down on alleged dissent to his rule.
Mugabe never apologised for the massacres, and always stifled debate on the subject, only saying at one time that it was “a moment of madness”.
Mugabe’s government once initiated a probe into the mass killings, but the findings of the investigation by the Chihambakwe Commission of Inquiry were never made public.
There have been calls for Mnangagwa to release the report in the spirit of promoting national healing, and to commit to compensating the victims’ families and survivors.
In 2011, Genocide Watch, alongside the International Association of Genocide Scholars, classified Gukurahundi as genocide.
Mudenda added: “It is instructive that Parliament must always be attentive towards monitoring how the NPRC acts regarding how it carries out its general mandate in promoting national peace and reconciliation as well as ensuring post-conflict justice and national healing in terms of the Constitution and the NPRC Act.
“Additionally, the Constitution creates a binding relationship between the commission and various stakeholders that it deems fit to consult in order to execute its mandate.”