The decision by the chairpersons of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) to recommend to Cabinet that members of the now defunct Jomic secretariat be absorbed into government under the national healing organ is a welcome move indeed.
Jomic, established at the inception of the inclusive government to monitor the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), chief among this fostering unity and political tolerance between diverse political groups, played a crucial role in ensuring that the July 31 polls were peaceful.
One of the Jomic chairpersons, Oppah Muchinguri, told NewsDay on Wednesday that the operations committee, comprised of co-chairpersons chosen from the country’s three main political parties that formed the inclusive government, has recommended that Jomic’s human capital, offices and physical equipment be absorbed by the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration (ONHRI).
This is a noble proposal which should allow skilled Jomic personnel to integrate their skills in the peace-building initiatives by ONHRI.
Peace should be a sustained effort in Zimbabwe, considering the country is coming from a dark past of political intolerance, violence, intimidation, torture and genocide.
Jomic’s lifespan cannot go beyond August following the July 31 elections that ended the five-year-old unity government, but the peace-building initiatives should not be allowed to die.
ONHRI, an “organ project” aimed at strengthening the mechanisms for promoting the rule of law and democratic governance in Zimbabwe through citizen participation and dialogue, has so far achieved very little, if anything, since its inception in 2009. This shows it requires more assistance and drive, making Jomic just the right candidate.
The committee’s recommendation that Jomic staffers seconded by political parties be released while retaining an apolitical secretariat is also a good idea.
What ONHRI needs is the resolution of disputes and healing of wounds that takes place in an impartial and completely non-partisan manner.
ONHRI has alone failed to bring national healing on many platforms in dire need of this, including the mass killings that took place in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces in the early 80s.
The result is that these issues are repeated at every opportunity and that makes this great nation live perpetually on a tribal and regional precipice and uncertainty. Proper national healing is required to enter this in the permanent archives of history.
There is a lot also that happened in more recent years that requires an effective organ of national healing to deal with and if the existing organ were given help from Jomic, it would drive the issue with more vigour.
It is high time that the country employed the skills and expertise at its disposal to build sustainable peace and national harmony.
We implore the Jomic staffers that will be tasked with this job to execute their mandate with enough push to give the much-needed impetus to our rather lame ONHRI.