Budget for Gukurahundi public hearings set

The GOVERNMENT has earmarked funding for public hearings — scheduled to commence this quarter — to document and facilitate the resolution of civil disturbances that affected some parts of the country in the 1980s.

Attorney-General Virginia Mabiza confirmed to The Sunday Mail that preparations for the hearings, which will mark a historically significant national healing process, are at an advanced stage.

More than 70 traditional chiefs from Matabeleland North and South provinces will lead the hearings, which seek to bring closure to the post-independence violent clashes commonly referred to as Gukurahundi.

The hearings also seek to identify those who were directly and indirectly affected by the disturbances, capture their views and establish community-led solutions to their grievances.

“There is good news regarding the implementation of Gukurahundi (hearings) as the budget has been confirmed and is in place,” said AG Mabiza.

“The figures are yet to be finalised and will be reviewed before being made public.

“This step will ensure transparency and accountability in the process.”

The Government’s commitment to resolving the Gukurahundi issue, she said, was “unwavering as the nature of the issues requires a victim-centred approach”.

“While we hope that the process will not extend beyond a year, we are willing to do whatever it takes to bring about a resolution that all parties can agree on,” she continued.

“Rest assured that we will ensure that the consultations are comprehensive and that all affected citizens will have closure.

“We anticipate that the Community Outreach Programme will be officially launched in the first quarter of this year.”

She said while there have been no substantial obstacles during the programme’s preparatory phase, some media outlets and politicians have attempted to undermine the process.

“It’s disheartening to witness the disinformation and political posturing during the election period concerning these ongoing processes,” said Mrs Mabiza.

“Nonetheless, we remain committed to achieving our goals and overcoming any challenges that come our way.”

President Mnangagwa’s administration has committed to confronting the country’s ugly past by resolving outstanding issues associated with the disturbances.

The National Council of Chiefs was given the mandate to deal with the Gukurahundi issue and held consultations with various organisations, including the civic society organisations, faith-based organisations and traditional leaders from Matabeleland North and South.

Authorities have also developed a comprehensive report and a manual to guide the conduct of the exercise, outlining the scope of the outreach programme.

The National Council of Chiefs, through its Gukurahundi Steering Committee, also capacitated over 1 008 service providers, including chiefs from the affected regions.

They received training on how to conduct the outreach programme to ensure the exercise is conducted efficiently.

Presently, there are preparations to train counsellors in first aid in preparation for any unforeseen circumstances during the outreach.

“All the equipment is in place, which includes laptops with high processing power and advanced graphics capabilities, printers that support high-volume printing with advanced duplexing, recorders with noise-cancelling features and high-quality microphones, and a comprehensive range of stationery supplies,” added Mrs Mabiza.

“The acquisition of these cutting-edge tools has equipped the participants with all the necessary resources to ensure the smooth implementation of the critical programme.”

Sunday Mail

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