Chiefs’ thumbs-up for Gukurahundi debate

George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
Traditional leaders have hailed President Mnangagwa’s stance that Gukurahundi should be openly debated, with Chiefs Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira saying the move by the President will bring closure.

President Mnangagwa at the weekend revealed that debate on the Gukurahundi issue should have started a long time ago which would have paved the way for resolution of some of the issues.

The President fully supported open debate about the issue which could not be openly discussed under the previous dispensation.

The President, who was speaking during an interview with national broadcaster ZBC ahead of this year’s 39th Independence anniversary, said there was nothing wrong with debating issues about Gukurahundi on television and in newspapers.

President Mnangagwa has already showed his commitment to open debate on key national issues by engaging the Matabeleland Collective, an umbrella body of civil society organisations from the region, to share ideas about issues people in the area feel strongly about.

Chief Charumbira said President Mnangagwa’s stance dovetailed with what chiefs had advocated for during their annual conference in Kadoma in December last year.

“We want to hail the stance by President Mnangagwa that the Gukurahundi issue must be debated openly,” he said.

“We resolved that chiefs in affected areas were supposed to lead open debate about Gukurahundi in their areas, with people speaking before their chiefs so that there is closure to the issue according to our traditions and values.

“We really hail that statement that was made by the President that there must be open debate around the issue of Gukurahundi and at community level, chiefs will play a key role in making sure that open debate brings closure to the burning issue in the affected areas.”

Chief Charumbira said freely debating the Gukurahundi like what President Mnangagwa is advocating for will enable the nation to get a total picture of what actually transpired and how to permanently resolve the issue.

President Mnangagwa said he believed that there was no single issue that could not be discussed to craft a way forward.

The President said he had agreed to meet the Matabeleland Collective after the body approached him to discuss the Gukurahundi issue and lack of development in the region.

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