PEACE and reconciliation stakeholders from across the country converged in Harare yesterday to deliberate on strategies to make Zimbabwe’s reconciliation policy inclusive and effective, the National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) said yesterday.
BY Everson Mushava
Secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC), Frederick Chiromba, who is also a member of NTJWG responsible for Promotion of Truth Thematic Area said the Harare meeting was the first in a series of six events organised by the NTJWG throughout the country.
“Truth is a delicate matter in national healing,” Chiromba said. “It has the potential to heal, but it also has the potential to re-victimise. We need to handle it with care and involve everyone in the conversation. We however, cannot ignore or bury it. We have to confront our past.”
Zimbabwe has many past violations, including the Matabeleland and Midlands massacres in the 1980’s known as Gukurahundi and the 2008 election violence, that have gone unresolved.
Observers have warned that the country was sitting on a ticking time bomb by failing to resolve tensions emanating from its past.
Chiromba said the policy discussion forum would bring together actors who are involved in national healing, including policy-makers, church leaders, academics and civil society leaders to deliberate on the role and strategies upon which Zimbabwe can make use of truth-telling as a tool for justice, healing and reconciliation as envisaged by the Constitution.
Zimbabwe adopted a new Constitution in 2013 with the provision for a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) under Section 252.
President Robert Mugabe last year appointed nine people to the NPRC with Bishop Ambrose Moyo as chairperson.
The government in December last year gazetted the NPRC Bill aimed at operationalising the peace commission in line with the new charter.
“This policy discussion forum is our way of supporting government efforts at reconciliation and at the same time discharging our mandate of providing interface between official national healing processes and various stakeholders working in the area of transitional justice,” Chiromba said.
“After each forum, we will present a policy brief to the Parliament, Executive as well as the NPRC.”