Blocking of Gukurahundi Commemorations will not bring Healing and Reconciliation

Heal Zimbabwe expresses grave concern over the blocking of Gukurahundi commemorations in Matabeleland South at Bhalagwe mine shaft in Kezi on 21 October 2017. On the scheduled day, police detail barricaded the road that leads to the mine arguing that the commemorations were unsanctioned. Bhalagwe is a concentration camp in Kezi that houses mass graves of Gukurahundi victims.

Heal Zimbabwe notes that blocking processes that seeks to create a roadmap towards healing and reconciliation on Gukurahundi is not only deplorable but inimical to reconciliation and healing. During National Peace and Reconciliation bill hearings conducted in 2016 and 2017 across the country, citizens singled out Gukurahundi as a serious reconciliation issue that the yet to be operational National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) must tackle urgently.

It is Heal Zimbabwe’s view that the continued disruption of initiatives by citizens on the need to encourage truth telling on Gukurahundi is quite unfortunate as doing so only temporarily mutes the debate. Rather, Government must move to address this key reconciliation issue by encouraging truth telling where both perpetrators and victims are afforded a platform where they can start a dialogue on reconciliation and identify appropriate pillars of transitional justice which will help address Gukurahundi. Some of these pillars include truth telling, justice and accountability as well as reparations.

To achieve this, Government must swiftly fully operationalize the NPRC and ensure that it commences its constitutional mandate of ensuring post -conflict justice, healing and reconciliation.

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