President Mnangagwa is in Bulawayo today for the purpose of meeting the civil society leaders from Matabeleland to map up the way forward amid several crisis affecting the region of which the Gukurahundi question is the major.

Despite the Covid-19 induced lockdown, the President saw it fit to travel to Bulawayo for a third dialogue in the region and interfacing with different stakeholders.

This comes after which the President previously convened two separate meetings; notable one in July with the civil society under the banner Matabeleland Collective and the other with the chiefs in a move meant to promote national healing.

“Matabeleland Collective is a grouping of non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisations, community-based organisations, trusts, savings clubs and social movements from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South” The Chronicle

In a statement, Permanent Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mr Nick Mangwana said the President values dialogue and this signals his commitment towards the finalisation of the Gukurahundi which is a thorny issue among other developmental topics in Matabeleland and some other parts.

Mr Mangwana gave no further information on the meeting on the grounds that, “most of the information will be available tomorrow after the engagement itself.”

 He further said, “This is a follow-up of a programme that has already started and His Excellency does not start something and not see it to its logical conclusion. The issue of Gukurahundi, past marginalisation within this region is an issue which His Excellency is seized with and close to his heart”.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Mrs Virginia Mabhiza pre-emptied the purpose of the meetings by alluding that; the president is expected to launch a programme in which the children of the Gukurahundi victims will be issued with birth and death certificates and currently being handled by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.

In a statement by the Catholic Bishops, the Gukurahundi issue was criticised but in a counter statement, the Bishops of the African Initiated Churches criticised the Bishops for digging in this tragic past rather than preaching hope.

Speaking on behalf of Matabeleland Collective, Ms Jenni Williams (Director of Women of Zimbabwe Arise) said “we are working to help citizens look ahead with hope and energy rather than looking backward with sadness.”

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