President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday met a faction of civil society groups from Matabeleland and pledged to expedite the issuance of death certificates on those killed by his government during the 1980s massacres in the region.
Soon after the national leader’s closed-door meeting in Bulawayo with the groups coalescing under the Matabeleland Collective a press statement was released.
“Today 22 August 2020, a government delegation led by His Excellency, the President of Republic of Zimbabwe Dr ED Mnangagwa met with leaders of the Matabeleland Collective and the councillors of the city of Bulawayo as part of ongoing efforts to deliberate on issues affecting the region,” reads part of the statement.
Mnangagwa, accused of being one of the key architects of a holocaust that saw 20 000 civilians butchered by the military when he was state security minister, also pledged to expedite the issuance of birth certificates on survivors of the dark period.
Survivors of the genocide, most of them being those who lost their parents and documents during the period, have found it difficult to obtain identity documents.
The Zimbabwean leader and predecessor Robert Mugabe have largely refrained from any public discussions on the emotive issue of the Matabeleland killings.
However, his commitment to issuing death certificates, coupled with a mooted reburial on victims who were dumped in shallow graves during the dark period, are the latest signs Zimbabwe’s number one acknowledged the damage caused.
Mnangagwa was accompanied by Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe, State Security Minister Owen Ncube, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice Virginia Mabhiza among other senior government officials.
Organisers of the meeting also said some of the issues discussed at the meeting included the long mooted Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, corruption within rural district councils, devolution and the issue of increased women participation in government and parliament.