By NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO’s informal traders representative organisation has cut ties with the Matabeleland Collective (MC), a grouping of civic groups and the clergy that has been meeting President Emmerson Mnangagwa to discuss the Gukurahundi atrocities.
The MC last Saturday met Mnangagwa at the State House in Bulawayo where the unresolved Gukurahundi issue and systematic marginalisation, among other concerns, were discussed.
Mnangagwa committed to expedite the issuance of identity documents to the Gukurahundi victims while also pledging government support to release funding to ease Bulawayo’s frustrating water woes.
The MC has, however, divided opinion among civic groups and other stakeholders in the region, with some going to the extent of dismissing it as a Zanu PF-sponsored project, claims that have been denied.
Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) co-ordinator Michael Ndiweni said it was for such a reason that the grouping cut ties with the MC to avoid tarnishing its image.
“BVTA officially left the MC some months ago after our board resolved that there were many disagreements within the MC, and differences on strategy and seemingly shifting from ideals that the MC was established for from the outset,” Ndiweni said in an interview on Friday.
“That is the reason why the BVTA board resolved to take a step back from the MC.”
Critics of the MC argue against having a dialogue with Mnangagwa, particularly on the Gukurahundi issue claiming that he is a compromised party owing to his alleged role in the 1980s mass killings.
Mnangagwa was State Security minister at the time.
However, there are counter allegations that civic groups that have adopted a confrontational approach against Mnangagwa and the MC are being paid by the state to frustrate all processes aimed at resolving the Gukurahundi issue.
Government last year allowed the exhumation and reburial of remains of Gukurahundi victims, but the process was stopped after the authorities made a somersault claiming that a law had to be put in place to guide the process.