HomeLocal NewsViolence victims to get compensation: MDC-T

Violence victims to get compensation: MDC-T

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THE MDC–T has pledged financial compensation to thousands of victims of the 2008 political violence and other victims of State-sponsored human rights abuses like the 2005 clean-up exercise, Operation Murambatsvina which displaced many thousands of people.

Report by Dumisani Sibanda

The party unveiled its policy document last week in which it made promises to compensate victims of political violence, including the 1983-1987 Gukurahundi which has remained a sore thumb to the people of Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces.

In the policy document titled The Agenda for Real Transformation, MDC-T says it recognises five distinct periods of gross human rights violations; 1983–1987, 2000, 2005 and 2008.

The document reads in part: “Although one cannot put monetary value to suffering, this is a way of acknowledging the suffering endured. This compensation will also cover loss of property.”

Victims of violence during political campaigns ahead of elections held in 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2005 would also receive compensation if the MDC-T won this year’s elections.

In the run–up to, and after the violent June 27, 2008 presidential run–off, the MDC-T claims an estimated 300 people were killed, more than 2 000 raped, 10 000 injured while 20 000 homes were destroyed and over 200 000 people displaced.

Gukurahundi victims are also in line for compensation. The political campaign, unleashed ostensibly against insurgents in Matabeleland and Midlands, claimed an estimated 20 000 lives.

In this regard, the MDC-T proposes what they have termed “symbolic compensation” under which affected families would be assisted “to exhume and provide decent burials for loved ones; erection of tombstones; cleansing rituals and ceremonies; legal, medical and psycho-social support for trauma and grief stricken families”.

About 40 000 farm workers were also recorded as displacement victims of the 2000 violent farm invasions while about 700 000 people were displaced in 2005 after their homes were razed down during Operation Murambatsvina. The MDC-T has promised to compensate them as well.

It is envisaged the Compensation and Healing Committee will “determine the need for compensation, the nature of compensation and implementation measures to facilitate access to government services,” and will consider giving victims of human rights violations, individual compensation grants, symbolic and economic compensation.

As part of its policy initiatives on national healing, MDC-T said it was equally committed to redressing socio-economic and property rights violations.

“Given competing needs in a reconstruction era the MDC will fundraise from bilateral and multi-lateral sources. Other governments with similar experiences can provide policy advice, technical support and expertise. A mechanism will be put in place to ensure the funding will not compromise the nature and ownership of the national healing programme.”

There are also plans to set up the Truth Committee, Justice and Amnesty and Conflict Prevention committees.

“The MDC government will be committed to programmes that will promote healing, reconciliation and integration of Zimbabwe polarised by periods of gross human rights violations since independence. The MDC-led government is so committed that the approach will encapsulate both justice and reconciliation ends. The preservation of peace will be a foundation to build a stable and democratic society bonded by the common spirit of national belonging,” the party contends.

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