Pamela Shumba Senior Reporter—
Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has reiterated the importance of assisting villagers in Tsholotsho acquire identity particulars, saying it is part of the peace and reconciliation process. VP Mphoko launched a national identification programme in Tsholotsho on Monday as part of Government’s efforts to support victims of the post-independence disturbances that rocked parts of Matabeleland and Midlands regions in the 1980s.
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“Due to those disturbances, many people in Tsholotsho, Nkayi, Matabeleland South and Midlands don’t have birth certificates and identity cards,” he said.
“They can’t even claim their inheritance because they don’t have the documents. Everyone has a right to have documents as long as they are Zimbabwean.
“As Minister responsible for Peace and Reconciliation, it is my duty to make sure that these people are assisted. The disturbances caused a lot of problems and they must be solved. It’s sad that some people can’t even write because they didn’t go to school. These people have never voted because they don’t have these important documents.”
VP Mphoko, who was one of the senior Zapu officials during the transition from colonial rule to independence on April 18, 1980, said his ministry was planning to rebury victims of the disturbances who did not get decent burials.
“We’ll not talk about compensation for now because it requires a lot of money,” he said. “We want to make sure those who don’t have identity particulars have them and make sure that the bones that are lying around are given decent burials.
“We’ll work with the police to carry out the exercise. There are also mass graves here. It’s unfortunate we can’t rebury them, but we’ll make sure these people are given the respect they deserve.”
VP Mphoko maintained that the disturbances were a Western conspiracy bent on destabilising the newly-independent Zimbabwean State.
“The disturbances that happened after independence were not because of President Mugabe’s problem, it was a Western conspiracy to destabilise the newly-independent State of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“While other people have said they don’t want to ask for forgiveness, President Mugabe has acknowledged that it was a moment of madness.”
VP Mphoko challenged Zimbabweans to unite and co-exist peacefully, saying the successful execution of the war of liberation that removed minority rule was an example of what a united people could achieve if they worked in unison.
Speaking on recent floods that affected the area, Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said his ministry was aware that some villagers in Tsholotsho lost their documents to the floods and was committed to addressing the issue.
“We’re here to support VP Mphoko who requested us to bring the Registrar General’s department so that those who don’t have identity particulars are assisted,” said Dr Chombo.
Member of Parliament for Tsholotsho North, Professor Jonathan Moyo, recently said the floods had revealed a cruel reality and created an opportunity for Government to address the challenge.
This was after the local Civil Protection Unit (CPU) revealed that out of 150 pupils from Mahlaba Primary School, which was destroyed by the floods, only four had birth certificates.
The pupils included those who are supposed to register for Grade Seven, Ordinary Level and Advanced Level examinations.
A total of 490 people at the Sipepa transit camp where the flood victims were accommodated also did not have birth records, a development that Prof Moyo described as a serious problem.
The event, where a total of 152 youths graduated after completing a national youth service training, was also attended by Home Affairs Deputy Minister Obedingwa Mguni, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Minister of Youth, indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Cde Patrick Zhuwao.
Registrar General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede, traditional leaders and senior officials from several Government departments also attended the event.