PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa, has pledged to immediately roll out a process of issuing identity documents to victims of the Gukurahundi post-independence political disturbances.
The president’s promise follows a convention held in March last year where civil society organisations under the Matabeleland Collective banner brought to his attention that people have been having challenges in obtaining death certificates mostly for their relatives who were affected by Gukurahundi.
“The exercise to issue out documentation to victims of Gukurahundi will be rolled out in as soon as the involved parties have agreed on all logistical arrangements,” Information ministry permanent secretary Nick Mangwana said soon after Mnangagwa had met leaders of civil society organisations in Zimbabwe’s second largest city yesterday.
Since the initial convention last year, CSOs have also repeatedly raised in their engagement with the president the need to facilitate exhumation and reburial of those killed during the 1980s disturbances.
In April last year, experts from Bulawayo-Ukuthula Trust- exhumed the remains of Justin Tshuma and his wife Thembi Ngwenya. The couple was killed and buried in a shallow grave close to their homestead in Nkwalini Village in Sipepa, Tsholotsho.
Thousands of Gukurahundi victims were rendered stateless after they lost their parents during the internationally condemned killings. Mnangagwa and his late predecessor Robert Mugabe have both refused to apologise over the atrocities which claimed an estimated 20 000 innocent civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
During the same engagement, Mnangagwa also met Bulawayo City Council (BCC) mayor Solomon Mguni and council management where the water crisis afflicting Bulawayo was discussed.
According to Mangwana, Mnangagwa reportedly expressed his commitment to step in and address the crisis that has resulted in 13 people dying of water-related diseases in the city.
“This proposal should outline the major challenges and proposed solutions thereof in a format depicting activities, the cost and overall budget in three phases and this should be brought to his Excellency’s attention as soon as possible in the interest of bringing water to Bulawayo, “Mangwana said.
Zimbabwe’s Bulawayo city has effectively halted running water supplies after problems at its two reservoirs. As a result, the city’s over 650 000 residents have been limited to using tap water once a week since May. This has forced residents to resort to unsafe water sources thereby exposing themselves health hazards