NYANGA — Trevor Ncube, the chairperson of ALPHA Media Holdings (AMH), addressed a pressing national issue this week during the Ideas Festival Conference in Nyanga. He emphasized the urgent need for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to resolve the long-standing Gukurahundi issue, a critical step in nation-building for Zimbabwe.
The Gukurahundi, an unresolved conflict that occurred between 1983 and 1987 under former president Robert Mugabe, has been a significant source of unrest and division in Zimbabwe. Despite Mugabe’s tenure ending without addressing this issue, there were hopes that President Mnangagwa would bring closure.
However, Ncube expressed disappointment that years later, the people in Matabeleland are still awaiting closure. Speaking on the “In Conversation with Trevor” show, he highlighted the desperate need for acknowledgment and responsibility from those involved in the Gukurahundi atrocities.
“We need, as a nation, to face ourselves in the mirror, draw the line and say: this will never ever happen again,” Ncube stated, underscoring the importance of national healing and reconciliation.
Ncube, who has previously served as a presidential adviser, expressed his initial faith in Mnangagwa’s intentions to address the Gukurahundi issue. He recounted raising concerns about the absence of this topic in the President’s inauguration speech and learning about potential behind-the-scenes efforts to tackle the problem. However, Ncube’s experience in the political sphere led him to step back when progress did not materialize as expected.
The conversation also touched upon the broader context of political violence in Zimbabwe. Ncube called for a national commitment to ensuring that such tragedies do not recur. He stressed the importance of acknowledging and learning from past conflicts, including those from the liberation struggle, to prevent future atrocities.
The Gukurahundi left over 20,000 people dead in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces and resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands more. The need for a mindset shift was also echoed by eye specialist Solomon Guramatunhu, who spoke at the conference about building a united nation beyond tribalistic divides.
In response to these unresolved issues, traditional leaders were expected to begin Gukurahundi hearings earlier this year, with the training of rapporteurs already underway. However, the government has faced criticism for its inadequate recognition of the violence’s scale and scope.
The Ideas Festival, a follow-up to the December 2022 luncheon, aims to create a platform for exchanging innovative entrepreneurial ideas to shape Zimbabwe’s economy. AMH, the parent company of NewsDay, The Standard, the Zimbabwe Independent, and Heart & Soul broadcasting, continues to play a pivotal role in shaping public discourse in Zimbabwe.