Gukurahundi healing: Step in the right direction

EDITOR — The new dispensation has slowly but positively proven that there is an overhaul in the administration of the country’s affairs, an indication that Zimbabwe is breaking from the old ways. 

In the recent months, government has implemented measures that have seen the Constitution being upheld, social, political and economic reforms being put into effect.  To begin with, the move by government to compensate white former commercial farmers for developments made on the farms was a move in the right direction to show that government respects private property rights. 

This is also a measure that will appeal to investors who have interests to invest in the country.  Potential investors would be assured that their properties would be safe. In a similar manner, President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently held a meeting with the civic society organisations in Bulawayo, and the emotive Gukurahundi discussion was held.

Following the meeting, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) Jenni Williams commented that, “At first I thought that was just public relations and politicking but when I saw him taking notes as we deliberated; that was incredible. When he said he was a listening president I felt he meant it.” This was affirmation that indeed, the new dispensation was dedicated to living behind the old ways of doing things.

Since his inauguration, President Mnangagwa has been preaching about unity, peace and love and the progress Zimbabwe would make as a country, guided by those principles. 

The National Peace and Reconciliation (NPRC) has also been playing an effective role in complementing government’s efforts, making sure that peace and reconciliation is fully integrated in the country’s agenda. 

As a follow up, government recently announced measures to be implemented to ensure healing among victims during the Gukurahundi disturbances. In the old dispensation, this was a topic that was not given the light of day, or would be up for discussion. 

The initiative that was forwarded by the Matabeleland Collective and NPRC paved way for the decriminalisation of the Gukurahundi dialogue, making the issue, open for discussion.

Some of the healing measures laid out include government facilitating the issuance of birth certificates and death certificates for victims affected, facilitating in the exhumation and reburial of victims as well as offering medical assistance to victims. 

This also opened avenues for frank and sincere dialogue between government and Gukurahundi victims and affected communities.
The direction that government has taken proves that there is sincerity towards national peace and reconciliation. 

Government has moved from mere talk, to full implementation, what activists of the Gukurahundi disturbances have been clamouring for all along. However, government cannot do it alone. National peace, reconciliation and healing is a process that all citizens have to candidly take part in. 

It is every citizen’s responsibility to be open minded, accept that healing is a process that can only be achieved if victims are patient enough to let government assist them to move forward through various measures as indicated in recently announced implementation matrix.

It is also a process that government has to embark on, in good-will, with the full intention of bringing people together for national progress. Dialogue is a two way process, where all interested parties have to listen to each other and respond genuinely.

This is also a relatively new path that government, Gukurahundi victims and affected communities are embarking on. The process may be bumpy, boulders may be on the roads, but bridges have to built and it starts with a single step. 

This is the step in the right direction. It is upon us as a united nation to accept, embrace and take into consideration the importance of peace, reconciliation and healing. As Zimbabwe approaches Independence Day, it is also important that the spirit of unity takes precedence and becomes the basis for the country’s progress. 

A nation united is easier to build, as unity of purpose becomes the major driver towards national prosperity. Brick upon brick, Zimbabwe will be made great again.
Anesu Pedzisayi.

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