Gukurahundi Still Haunts Tsholotsho North Community, as Community Demands Free Access to Documentation

Community members working with Heal Zimbabwe in Tsholotsho North have castigated the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) over delays in finding a lasting solution to Gukurahundi.

This came out during an NPRC awareness meeting organised by a Community Peace Club (CPC) that works with Heal Zimbabwe in Tsholotsho North on 6 May 2022. The objective of the meeting was to conscientize communities on the work of the NPRC and creates referral pathways for the community to submit reports to the commission. The NPRC is one of the Independent Commissions supporting democracy established under Chapter 12 of the constitution with the mandate of ensuring post conflict justice, healing and reconciliation. The meeting was attended by several Traditional leaders and 66 Community members. The meeting was also attended by NPRC Provincial Committee member for Matabeleland North Province, Sindiso Nxumalo.

Participants noted that delays by the NPRC in engaging survivors of Gukurahundi were derailing local healing and reconciliation efforts.”We have waited for the NPRC since 2013 to come here and engage us on how it can tackle gukurahundi.We are in dire need of a wholesome healing and reconciliation process here but to date, this dream remains a pipe dream”, said one participant. The meeting also noted that the ongoing blitz on documentation by the Civil Registry Department was saddled with a lot of challenges as many people fail to acquire key documents such as birth certificates and identity documents due to the migration of people to neighbouring countries such as South Africa.

Community members welcomed the gesture by Heal Zimbabwe of bringing the NPRC to the community as it strengthens bottom-up approaches to peace building. The meeting further resolved that there was need for Traditional leaders to mobilize citizens for Gukurahundi public hearings that government will embark on at a date to be announced. As part of resolutions and bottom-up engagement, the CPC elected a committee of 5 people who will compile a dossier of issues they want addressed and submit to the NPRC office in Bulawayo.

The meetings by Heal Zimbabwe are part of efforts to empower local communities to help safeguard against human rights abuse and also help build peaceful communities. Heal Zimbabwe utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities. One of these ways is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. Such platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.

Source: Heal Zimbabwe

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