Acting President John Nkomo and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Monday called on security agencies to show zero tolerance to violence and said it was the responsibility of political leaders to ensure an “immediate cessation of violence, persecution and lawlessness”.
The two were speaking at different fora in Harare.
Nkomo was addressing a press conference on the eve of the United Nations International Day of Peace where he said police should not tolerate violence and the media should mind their language.
“The Organ (of National Healing Reconciliation and Integration) calls on protection agencies, especially the police, to show zero tolerance to all forms of violence. The organ also calls on all media to use language that builds peace,” Nkomo said.
He said the peace-building process must be Zimbabwean although it may incorporate other regional and international best practices.
Addressing a separate media briefing, Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe could only move forward when the country had undergone a true process of national healing and instilled a culture of respect for human rights.
“We cannot shy away from either our collective or individual responsibility for historic trauma or for the state of our nation today,” Tsvangirai said. “As leaders we must ensure that there is no cover-up for the past wrongs and as a nation we cannot hope to promote equality, national healing, cohesion and unity while abusing the rule of law, ignoring the right to free political activity, freedom of assembly and association and freedom of expression and communication.”
Tsvangirai said finding a way to deal with the pain and loss would be a painful process. “I will not shy away from my responsibility to ensure that the environment exists for this process to be undertaken. I will support the process of healing proposed by the organ, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and, most importantly, the victims themselves.
“We cannot attempt to address one period of conflict to the exclusion of others. If this process is going to lead towards genuinely healing our nation, we must be inclusive in the scope of the programme,” he said.
Tsvangirai said there was a need to look back at the pre-independence era, the post-independence Matabeleland massacres and more recently, the political violence that has torn the fabric of Zimbabwean society.