THE Government has started an exercise of issuing birth certificates to families of victims of the post-independence disturbances as well as constructing monuments on mass graves to bring the Gukurahundi issue to finality.
Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, who was speaking during a meeting with members of the late Chief Masuku’s family in Nzula, Nathisa in Matobo district yesterday, said there was need to bring closure to the Gukurahundi episode.
“As the Government we’ve resolved to bring the issue of Gukurahundi to finality once and for all and starting this week we will roll out the programme of issuing birth certificates to families of the victims of post-independence disturbances in the Midlands and Matabeleland region,” he said.
“There are mass graves and we’re also considering constructing walled enclosures around monuments bearing names of the victims buried in those cemeteries
VP Mphoko said those buried in shallow graves will be exhumed and given decent burials.
He said the programme, which is already being carried out in some parts of the country, was part of the national healing and reconciliation process. The Government will conduct the exercise in consultation with the traditional leadership
VP Mphoko, who also doubles as the Minister responsible for National Healing and Reconciliation, said it was important to deal with the scars of the post-independence disturbances so that the victims can move on with their lives.
“We’re the leaders of this country and it’s our responsibility to address those matters. What we have to do is to issue birth and death certificates to those who were affected by Gukurahundi and rebury their loved ones properly in terms of the laws of our country as well as economically empower them,” he said.
VP Mphoko said President Mugabe had expressed regret about the disturbances which he described as a “moment of madness” and what was left was to address the scars left by that period.
He also slammed corrupt Government officials employed in public institutions who steal money from the poor to enrich themselves.
VP Mphoko castigated people who fan tribalism.
“Tribalism is the mother of all corruption and we don’t want people who promote such divisive tendencies,” he said.
VP Mphoko also pledged the Government’s commitment to assist Chief Masuku’s widow, Mrs Jester Masuku, after she told the Vice President that she was no longer getting her husband’s benefits.
Chief Masuku died on May 25 last year at the age of 81 after succumbing to cardiac arrest.
He was buried at his rural home in Nzula.
“It is known that when a father of a house passes on there are bound to be challenges. I am here on behalf of the President and I will inform him of the challenges faced by the Chief Masuku family,” said the VP.