The people of Matabeleland will reject any constitution that is silent on Gukurahundi as endorsing such a document would be total denial of certain realities that affected the region in history, a local church leader has said.

Speaking during a civic society discussion on the leaked new constitution draft in Bulawayo recently, Pr Anglistone Sibanda of Word of Faith International Ministries said the new supreme law was blind to Gukurahundi, which he described as the country’s sad history.

“The constitution recognises the liberation war clearly because it even devotes a section to war veterans but doesn’t say anything about the sad history (Gukurahundi). The problem with our current system is that we seem to be in denial of certain realities,” he said.

Pr Sibanda added: “We are not saying let’s go and dig graves of the people that were killed but we are saying let’s acknowledge it for posterity in the constitution so that the future generations will know that genocide once took place in this country so that they then endeavor to ensure that it will never happen.”

Bulawayo participants debate the leaked constitution draft document.

He said unlike constitutions of other African countries, the new Zimbabwe constitution draft does not provide for how the country would deal with injustices and issues of the past in order to inform the future.

“If you look at constitutions like the Rwandan constitution, the Kenyan constitution, they deal with certain issues in retrospect where they seek to address the imbalances of the past but this constitution doesn’t say anything,” Pr Sibanda said.

He added that the constitution’s silence on the supremacy of God was also uncalled for considering that over 70 percent of Zimbabweans are Christians.

Other participants who also predicted Matabeland would reject the incoming constitution said the devolution of power to provinces is not clearly articulated in the document while others suggested that the sidelining of more than ten other languages from the region meant that the document was not for Matabeleland.

The new constitution draft only recognises Ndebele, English and Shona as Zimbabwe’s official languages contrary to what the people of Matabeleland had demanded from the Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC), last year.

The meeting attended by a number of civic society organisations from the three Matabeleland provinces – Bulawayo, Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North – was organised by the Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda.