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Gukurahundi probe yet to start

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

MORE than two years after President Emmerson Mnangagwa set up a team of traditional leaders to relook into the emotive Gukurahundi issue, the chiefs’ probe is yet to start amid reports that investigators are still being trained, Southern Eye has learnt.

Answering questions during the Nkayi Community Parliament (NCP), Nkayi North legislator Sithembiso Nyoni (Zanu PF), who is also the Small to Medium Enterprises minister, said the investigators would probe the Gukurahundi atrocities on behalf of the chiefs who were tasked by Mnangagwa to revisit the matter which occurred in the early to mid-1980s in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

The NCP is a replica of the country’s National Assembly.

“I spoke with some chiefs such as Chief Sikhobokhobo who told me that they were dealing with it (Gukurahundi) and there are people who are being trained to go and conduct investigations on what happened,” Nyoni said during the NCP sitting on Monday.

“So we must stay alert or approach the chiefs to give them our views. This is what the President has introduced and we trust it will be completed early.”

Mnangagwa in 2020 tasked traditional leaders to deal with the 1980s atrocities, which left more than 20 000 people dead, according to the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.

Last October, Mnangagwa launched the Gukurahundi manual to be used by the traditional leaders when they conduct consultations.

Last year, Chiefs Council deputy president Chief Mtshane Khumalo said they would start consultations in March this year, but there has been no movement to date.

Government once initiated a probe into the Gukurahundi massacres, but findings of the investigation by the Chihambakwe Commission of Inquiry were never made public.

There have been calls for Mnangagwa to release the report.

In January 2019, Matabeleland chiefs wrote to the South African Parliament requesting permission to be allowed to present “facts” about the mass killings as they pushed for an independent investigation into the atrocities.

In November 2018, the late Chief Vezi Mafu (Maduna) of Filabusi demanding an independent inquiry into the Gukurahundi massacres.

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