Mnangagwa offers Social security benefits for Gukurahundi victims

THE Government will provide social security benefits among a host of other benefits and amenities to victims of Gukurahundi as part of President Mnangagwa’s move to come up with a lasting solution in addressing problems from the post-independence political disturbances that affected people in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

However, the provision of the benefits will not be a one size fits all, but will be according to needs from affected communities who will work with their chiefs to come up with an implementation plan.

This emerged after a crucial meeting at State House in Bulawayo yesterday between President Mnangagwa and the National Council of Chiefs, where among other things, each chief was tasked to resolve issues within their area of jurisdiction by consulting with local communities on their needs and expectations.The government will then provide resources to implement the plans to be led by traditional leaders.

Presenting the resolutions after the closed door meeting, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mr Nick Mangwana said following the deliberations, President Mnangagwa highlighted that a systematic approach to the resolution of issues raised should be adopted.

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“Concerning the issue of social security benefits, this shall also be resolved on a case by case basis. Issues have been clarified and this should enable the chiefs to carry out their tasks, this issue is traditional and should be dealt with by traditional leaders,” said Mr Mangwana.

He said it was resolved that once chiefs have gone back and consulted on issues raised, Government will start deploying resources to address the problems highlighted.

“So whichever chief is ready, the President will deploy resources to their areas to support the resolutions of issues in that area,” said Mr Mangwana.

He said what was key was for the individual chiefs to give guidance to the Government on the best approach to be taken, further emphasising that the Gukurahundi issue should not be tribalised.

“Notably, it has been resolved that each chief will spearhead the resolution of the issues in his or her area of jurisdiction. The process will be victim centred and will also involve key stakeholders engagement. It was reiterated that the Gukurahundi issue should not be tribalised in order to foster national building and national healing, chiefs requested to organise themselves and come up with implementation plans detailing preparedness in their area of jurisdiction so as to guide the process,” said Mr Mangwana.

He said among the key issues to be focused on as part of the process of the resolution were documentation (birth, national identity and death certificates), underdevelopment and marginalisation of the Matabeleland region, national healing, reconciliation and nation building, counselling and psychosocial support, consultation of victims, reburials and memorials, reparations and compensation and social security benefits (pensions, free education, social welfare and health services).

“Regarding exhumations and reburials, this should be resolved on a case by case custom centric and the relevant chief should give guidance and direction,” he said.

He said it must be noted that President Mnangagwa was committed to solve the Gukurahundi issue.

“We need to emphasise that this programme that we are gathered here to deal with was and is the President’s initiated programme. It is not only initiated by the President but it’s also driven by the President. The President was not under pressure from anybody to do this. Through the spirit of fostering national cohesion, he (the President) saw it appropriate that for this country to develop it needs peace and harmony,” said Mr Mangwana.

Part of the Chiefs delegation follows proceedings during a Gukurahindi feedback meeting at State house in Bulawayo yesterday

Commenting on the outcome of the meeting, president of the National Council of Chiefs, Chief Fortune Charumbira commended President Mnangagwa’s passion in resolving the Gukurahundi issue.

“It is now or never. We are going to resolve this issue. As chiefs we are happy that this is finally coming to fruition and it is us as the traditional leaders who will be leading this process,” said Chief Charumbira.

His deputy, Chief Mtshane Khumalo said the biggest takeaway from the meeting was that they have a clear path on how to approach the matter.

“This has been a process, we first met the President in 2019 concerning this issue of Gukurahundi. We have been trying everything regarding solving this issue but now we have reached a point where we can now go back to the people who were affected by Gukurahundi.

We have heard from other organisations on what they are thinking but what is important is going back to the grassroots. We know that chief among the problems that have been identified is that of documentation but the President has assured us that he will be availing funds to ensure that these people get the necessary documentation,” said Chief Mtshane Khumalo.

Yesterday’s meeting came after a number of meetings have been held by the President with various stakeholders with the aim of finding a lasting resolution to the Gukurahundi unrest. On 24 June 2019, the President met with Matabeleland Civic Society Organisations under the banner Matabeleland Collective.

Another meeting was held on 22 August 2019 where it was proposed that the Gukurahundi issue was to be spearheaded by traditional leaders. On 24 October last year, the President met with chiefs from Matabeleland provinces to receive their respective reports on the issue. On 30 October last year, the President met with the National Council of Chiefs where it was endorsed that the traditional leaders will now take lead in resolving the issue.

Also present at the meeting yesterday were the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Cde July Moyo, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi, the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Cde Kazembe Kazembe and the Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Cde Judith Ncube and other senior Government officials.-Sundaymail