The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter 

THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has said it has started laying the groundwork for the process that will culminate in Gukurahundi exhumations, with President Mnangagwa expected to participate in an indaba to map the way forward.

The NPRC has since started training provincial peace committees that will engage people leading to public hearings and exhumations.

President Mnangagwa has encouraged citizens to openly speak on Gukurahundi and has reiterated that no subject should be made taboo in resolving conflict.

The President has so far held two meetings with civil society and a separate one with chiefs to promote national healing.

The NPRC is expected to lead the exhumation and reburials of Gukurahundi victims, some of  whom were buried in mass and shallow graves at the height of the 1980s disturbances largely concentrated in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces. 

Provincial peace committees that consist of various societal groups who are players on issues to do with conflict resolutions are playing a role in the process.

When the Bulawayo provincial peace committee was constituted last year, it identified issues of concern in the city that include Gukurahundi, importation of labour, non-enrolment of students from Matabeleland region at tertiary institution in the region and resuscitation of the city’s industries among others. 

Addressing a Press conference during the Bulawayo provincial peace committee training workshop yesterday, NPRC chairperson Justice Selo Nare said the provincial peace building committees will the lay the groundwork for public hearings and exhumation processes. 

 “Presently, as a commission, we are not sitting idle; we are working hard. That is why we are taking the matters further. This training session of the peace committees and hearing the other side and how to look into it (exhumations) and after that we can come to a stage where we are going to be conducting hearings that are important so that we know exactly what the people are saying,” said Justice Nare.

Justice Nare said the President is expected to hold an inclusive meeting with various players from the region to tackle Gukurahundi matters. 

“We do believe in the most recent future as the President said we would be holding a meeting that will include various stakeholders including the chiefs in order to map the way forward. Chiefs are a very important stakeholder group with regards the interesting subject of exhumations,” said Justice Nare.

He said President Mnangagwa’s engagements with civil society organisations from Matabeleland region complements peace building efforts.

Justice Nare said although NPRC was not part of the first meeting between the President and Matabeleland Collective, they were later incorporated into the discussions as issues that arose from that engagement touched on their constitutional mandate.

He said while many people are demanding answers on when exhumations should be conducted, due processes have to be followed to effectively deliver on lasting peace.

Yesterday, the Bulawayo provincial peace committee was holding its first training workshop after being constituted last year.

Commissioner Leslie Ncube, who is assigned to Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South, leads the provincial peace committee and is deputised by Ms Nokuthula Dube from Ukuthula Trust.

The three-day training workshop which ends tomorrow is being conducted under closed doors due to the sensitivity of conflict issues to allow participants to effectively contribute in the peace building processes.

He said Gotore then proceeded to a bedroom hut which he shared with Tawanda and Shan, where he allegedly fatally struck Shan twice on the head. 

Gotore left the hut and went to a shed across the same homestead where Mr Sibanda was sitting with his wife Ms Gotore and Ms Shumba. 

Upon arrival at the shed, police said, Gotore struck Ms Shumba once on the collarbone and the woman collapsed and died on the spot.

Mr Sibanda tried to disarm him but was overpowered.

Mr Sibanda and his wife fled from the scene with the accused in pursuit. He failed to catch the couple, police said.

Gotore allegedly walked back towards the homestead and proceeded to the cattle pen where he tied a cow to a tree before axing it to death. He also axed a calf. The two beasts belonged to Mr Sibanda.

Ms Munsaka, with her one year old baby strapped to her back, screamed for help while running towards Mr Sibanda’s bedroom hut to seek help after seeing that her husband had died, not knowing the couple had fled from the scene.

Police said Gotore chased after her into a maize field where after catching up with her, struck her with an axe several times causing her instant death. The baby was still on its dead mother’s back when Gotore struck it once on the shoulder causing its instant death.

The deceased’s bodies were taken to Bulawayo for postmortem while the axe was recovered. 

Gotore was arrested and is detained at Lusulu Police Station on allegations of [email protected]