The National Healing Organ must confront issues without fear so that Zimbabweans can have confidence in the process of national healing and re-integration, the new co-Minister of National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, Moses Mzila Ndlovu, has said.
Ndlovu on Friday told NewsDay the organ, heavily criticised by activists for failing to rise to the occasion, would have to take time to probe human rights violations in the country.
“First of all you need to identify the problem. This will be my major contribution. For example, one has to truly understand what the problem in Mashonaland is as far as ethnic issues are concerned.
“One has to understand what the problems are between black and white as far as decolonisation and the land issues are concerned. Matabeleland has a whole lot of problems that have to be understood.
“My contribution is that we must confront issues without fear. We have to move in the direction that will give people confidence in the process,” he said.
Ndlovu joined Sekai Holland of the MDC-T and Vice-President John Nkomo of Zanu PF as an MDC-M replacement for the late Gibson Sibanda.
The minister said the National Healing Organ they stood guided by the people on the direction the process should take.
“We would like a situation where we engage all the people, both victims and perpetrators. I know that most of the perpetrators won’t be easily accessible because of the time it has taken to look at some of these issues,” he said.
He said as much as it was vital to revisit the past, it was important to understand most of the wounds the country was suffering were from post-independence events.
“What must be understood is that when we say national healing, we imply the country is in pain. As much as some of the pain may arise from what happened in the pre-independence era, I think, to be honest, most of the pain is after independence. It arises from the post-independence ethnic relations and political systems that we have. That is the pain that separates most Zimbabweans.
“It’s true that a lot happened during 1965 but sometimes we tend to exaggerate these issues. As leaders, we usually want to find justification in the past and say we are doing what we are doing because of what happened in the pre-independence era,” he said.
Ndlovu said from a National Healing perspective the national healing organ was directed by those they regard as stakeholders in the national healing process.
“By stakeholders we are looking at pressure groups, non-governmental organisations, state actors, that is those who are capable of ensuring peace and stability like the army, police and Central Intelligence Organisation operatives. Many of these have been involved in crimes against humanity.
“A lot of pressure groups are stakeholders. Faith-based organisations such as Christian Alliance, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace(CCJP) are big players. CCJP have been at the forefront in demanding fairness and justice in the Matabeleland issue. You cannot say then that you can deliver peace in Matabeleland without the contribution of the CCJP.
“Political parties and traditional leaders, such as headmen and chiefs, are also stakeholders in national healing,” he said.
Ndlovu said his predecessors had done some work in trying to engage stakeholders although their efforts had not been enough.
“We should add impetus. Specifically, what I can say is that we should realise that regions have been treated differently in terms of development since independence. To some extent, that is still being perpetuated. Today in Matabeleland, most of the civil servants are from outside the region. Even articles 7 and 18 of the Global Political Agreement, which are the basis upon which national healing is based, make reference to that, though they may not be explicit,” he said.
He called for the state to make resources available to his department so that it effectively carries out its duties.