Ndiweni in Mnangagwa climbdown

Ndiweni in Mnangagwa climbdown
Published: 02 July 2019
OUTSPOKEN traditional leader, Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni - who has in recent months courted the ire of Zanu-PF apparatchiks with his stinging criticism of the government - has praised President Emmerson Mnangagwa for holding dialogue with chiefs from the Matabeleland region.

This comes as the government is working harder to bring closure to the highly-emotive Gukurahundi issue, which was on the agenda when Mnangagwa met chiefs from the region in Bulawayo on Friday.

Ndiweni, who recently attended and addressed the MDC's elective congress in Gweru, told the Daily News yesterday that Mnangagwa's meeting with Matabeleland chiefs was "a positive development" in efforts meant to address numerous problems in the region, including the Gukurahundi issue.

"It was a step in the right direction ... towards addressing our various grievances in the region, which has been marginalised for years.

"The engagement was sincere. I didn't see any problem … considering that I was part of the chiefs who put the document together that we submitted to the president.

"We have the issue of Gukurahundi … it can only be addressed through open discussions like these," Ndiweni said.
The chiefs and other interest groups, who attended Friday's meeting, submitted a 22-page document to Mnangagwa in which Gukurahundi atrocities topped the agenda.

Among other things, the chiefs demanded in the document that Mnangagwa apologises over the killings, declares a day of public mourning for victims, and also facilitates the exhumation and reburial of victims.

The traditional leaders further demanded the immediate release of Gukurahundi reports such as the Chihambakwe and Dumbutshena commissions of inquiry into the atrocities.

In April, Mnangagwa announced that his government would okay the exhumation and reburial of thousands of people who died during the Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980s.

Apart from reburying the victims of those atrocities, the government also committed itself to providing birth and death certificates to the children and relatives of the victims who - for decades now - have been facing insurmountable hurdles at the Registrar General's offices.
The process of exhuming bodies kicked off in the same month, with the first ceremony being held at Sipepa Village in Tsholotsho - where villagers witnessed the interring of Justin Tshuma and his wife Thembi's remains.

Ndiweni has consistently attacked the government over the past few months, particularly over the unresolved Gukurahundi issue.
Last year, he even wrote an emotive letter to the United Nations, calling for an independent commission of inquiry to be set up to investigate the atrocities.

"We write requesting an independent commission of inquiry be set up to investigate atrocities which occurred in Matabeleland and Midlands in Zimbabwe … between 1981 and 1987 … after the country gained independence from Britain.

"The atrocities escalated into genocide occasioned by an ethnic cleansing agenda targeting the Ndebele people in the western and central parts of the country," Ndiweni said in a letter he co-authored with Chief Maduna of Filabusi and which was addressed to UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres.

The letter was also copied to Amnesty International, the African Union, Sadc and the European Union (EU) Parliament, among others.

An estimated 20 000 people are said to have been killed mainly in Matabeleland and Midlands when the government deployed the North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade to the two regions, to fight an insurrection.

Unity Day was subsequently set up to commemorate the Unity Accord which was later signed between Zapu and Zanu on December 22, 1987, which ended hostilities between the two parties.
- dailynews
Tags: Ndiweni,


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