Sunday Mail Reporter
GOVERNMENT has initiated processes to conduct Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) tests on 147 bodies buried in Mozambique that are believed to be some of the missing victims of the devastating Cyclone Idai, which hit parts of Chipinge and Chimanimani early this year.
Traditional leaders and families of the victims are said to have been holding consultations on Government proposal to declare the missing persons dead and put closure on their whereabouts.
In a ministerial statement in the House of Assembly last week, Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing July Moyo said: “The Government has put measures and mechanisms in place to identify the 147 bodies buried in Susunhenga in Mozambique.
“They used to be 148 and one has already been retrieved by the family and correctly identified.
“To date, DNA samples have been collected from relatives of the missing persons waiting linking with the deceased.”
Minister Moyo said while the law provided for a person to be declared dead, five years after being reported missing, there was also a provision in the Civil Protection Act to vary and shorten the time.
“We wanted to understand from the communities, led by their chiefs, what they desired,” he said.
“They then requested us to say they wanted to do some rituals, consulting families in each of the chieftainship area and that they were going to be through doing this by the 6th of August (last Tuesday). While the minister was not available to provide details on the result of the family consultations, Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Jennifer Mhlanga said as of Friday, they had not received any feedback.
“l have not yet received anything on my desk as yet,” she said.
Government has so far channelled at least $179 million towards infrastructure rehabilitation in Chimanimani and Chipinge following the catastrophic storms.