The Zimbabwean government says all Gukurahundi victims should be issued with birth and death certificates with immediate effect while the state is in the process of rolling out medical payouts for those who were injured in the atrocities, which claimed over 20,000 lives in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Virginia Mabiza, made the announcement Tuesday in Bulawayo when she met with member of Matabeleland Collective, a group of non-governmental organizations that held an indaba with President Mnangagwa in the city two weeks ago.
Mabiza said, “The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage will facilitate the issuance of birth certificates and death certificates for victims affected by Gukurahundi. It will also facilitate the exhumation and reburial of Gukurahundi victims. We’re also implementing protection mechanisms for those affected by Gukurahundi to be free to discuss their experiences.
He further said the Ministry of Health is expected to provide medical assistance to some of the victims.
“Some people are still suffering from various pains inflicted on them during the disturbances. The government will therefore, facilitate that these people receive medical assistance.”
She also said the government would facilitate the creation of opportunities for local people who are being sidelined in most work places.
“… Another critical issue to be looked into is devolution where we expect government processes to be devolved by prioritising of local businesses in the awarding of tenders and giving locals first preference when filling positions.”
Mabiza noted that President Mnangagwa’s government wants to complete critical projects like the Zambezi Water Project in order to empower people in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces, which recorded sluggish growth since independence owing to the Gukurahundi massacres.
“The ministry and certain players that have been identified to look into the completion of the project are expected to give monthly updates on progress made until we can give timelines on the completion.”
Some activists immediately dismissed the government’s move saying the government should apologize first for the atrocities before granting Gukurahundi victims birth and death certificates.
Former president Robert Mugabe deployed the Fifth Brigade in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions claiming that he wanted to get rid of dissidents that were allegedly sponsored by then PF Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo, who denied any wrongdoing.
Nkomo and Mugabe formed a unity government in 1987 following five years of civil strife in the two regions, which were PF Zapu strongholds. Mugabe was advocating for a one-party state.