HomeLocal NewsHealing organ to deal with killers — Minister

Healing organ to deal with killers — Minister

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The fact that the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission will not tackle issues related to Gukurahundi does not mean the perpetrators of the genocide will go scot-free, National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration co-minister, Moses Mzila Ndlovu said yesterday.

He said such criminals would be brought before a national healing commission in terms of the constitution mandated by Article Seven of the Global Political Agreement. The commission was, however, yet to be established, the minister said.

“People should differentiate between an Act of Parliament and the Constitution,” Mzila Ndlovu said.

“The Human Rights Commission Bill is an Act of Parliament and a National Healing Commission will be established under the Constitution of Zimbabwe which is the supreme law of the land. The Gukurahundi perpetrators will be brought before this commission so that we achieve transitional justice.”

Last week, when the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill was debated in the House of Assembly, MPs from the two MDC formations agreed with Zanu PF that the body would only attend to violations committed after February 13 2009.

This sparked an uproar from activists who felt that in the absence of a truth and justice commission, the emotive issue of Gukurahundi had been effectively swept under the carpet through the cutoff dates.

Ndlovu, who two months ago was acquitted by the courts after being charged with addressing an unsanctioned meeting in Lupane on the issue of Gukurahundi, said victims of the genocide should be compensated.

“No one in Zanu PF will stop victims of Gukurahundi from approaching the (national healing constitutional) commission for recourse,” he said.

“We want the victims to be compensated individually and at community level. We want the perpetrators to confess their crimes and start a healing process and for victims to feel that their stories have been heard.”

Ndlovu said the issue of justice on Gukurahundi and the inclusion of devolution of power as a governance model in the new Constitution of Zimbabwe were important.

“If the national healing commission and devolution are not in the constitution, then I will come out of the GPA (coalition government) and Copac because these are fundamental issues which should be dealt with,” he said.

“We are not worried by security structures, especially the leadership that has openly declared political allegiance to Zanu PF, we want to see justice being done.”

Speaking on the same issue at the Bulawayo Press Club on Friday, Zanu PF Politburo member and MP for Tsholotsho North Jonathan Moyo said there was nothing wrong with setting February 2009 as a cut off point for the Human Rights Commission.

He said internationally “it was accepted as the best practice” that such commissions do not operate in retrospect, but from the time they are formed going forward.

Moyo said a truth and reconciliation arrangement would be ideal to tackle issues to do with Gukurahundi.

Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa said the issue of the cut-off dates for the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission was agreed to by negotiators from the three political parties in the inclusive government, Zanu PF and the two MDCs.

The chief negotiators included Chinamasa, Nicholas Goche (Zanu PF), Tendai Biti, Elton Mangoma (MDC-T), Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Welshman Ncube (MDC) at that time.

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