The President of the Zimbabwe National Council of Chiefs Fortune Charumbira has called on traditional leaders to engage their communities and identify victims of the Gukurahundi genocide so that they bring closure to the issue.
He said the National Council of Chiefs resolved that traditional leaders should work out and agree on a methodology within their respective areas of jurisdiction which is suitable to their communities and is inclusive of all stakeholders.
Speaking to Great Dyke News 24 on the sidelines of the recently held Zunde Ramambo national launch, Chief Charumbira said all chiefs should shun tribalism during the process.
“We should compete on a non-rejective basis, tribalism, colonialism, and all activities of simply trying to undermine another group by using methods that are toxic in societies are unacceptable.
“If we are now looking for ways of appeasement it has to be in terms of tradition, it has to be in terms of the cultures. We acknowledge that we have diverse cultures, each chief has his own cultures.
“They should sit down with their people in their villages, in their cultures where ever people died during Gukurahundi, how did they die and what we need to do. These are coming out of the communities.
“The chief’s council or the government is not going to prescribe to anyone to say this village can you exhume. Government has no business at that level, it is the traditional structure.
“Those people, whatever they recommend they recommend to government and then wherever they can assist they assist,” he said.
He added that he is aware that the move is likely to raise a storm amongst Matabeleland activists who have been demanding to have localised solutions to the Gukurahundi issues especially the reburials.
“It’s all about the people and their cultures so no one should come from other country or place to prescribe what should be done. We know that there are tribalists who think that this issue must be resolved by Non-Governmental Organisations who do not know anything about Zimbabwean cultures.
“So we are saying this is toxic to the nation and thats unacceptable at all,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently resolved that traditional leaders will now take over the exhumation and reburials of victims of Gukurahundi in Matabeleland and Midlands while the Government will be involved in funding the process as part of initiatives meant to address the issue and promote national healing.
Between 1982 and 1987 the Zimbabwean government deployed a North Korean trained military unit, the Fifth Brigade into the Midlands and South Western regions of the country in an operation code-named Gukurahundi (the first flash floods that cleanse the riverbeds of all debris and chaff before the spring rains).
By the time the unit’s operations were halted, an estimated 20,000 mostly ethnic Ndebele and Kalanga speaking civilians were dead, with many more displaced, mutilated, and traumatised.