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  • Truth, justice, reconciliation and national healing - Index of articles

  • Carrying peace through the process
    Nomore Chinoda, Magamba Network
    April 24, 2013

    As Zimbabwe heads towards elections people must desist from politically motivated violence and help to address issues to do with conflict, reconciliation and transformation.

    Since 2009, the issue of reconciliation has gained a national salience that entered Zimbabwe into a new era we can call “the age of reconciliation’’. However, there is still a need to preach the gospel of peace and reconciliation so that people do away with violence during polls.

    Zimbabweans must focus on the goal of ending undesired conflicts in a relatively short time and transforming previous conflicts into something desired in a longer time frame by focusing not only on the content of the conflict but, more importantly, on the context and relationship between actors involved.

    The word election to Zimbabweans is now a replica of hunger, inflation and political turmoil but it must not be the same this time. We have to participate in restoring the right relationships between people who have been enemies.

    Thanks to the great currency that reconciliation has gained, through the work of organs like the Organ for National Healing and the Heal Zimbabwe Program, people gained a rich literature on different efforts for reconciliation.

    Since reconciliation is a desired merit in divided societies, these organs pragmatically succeeded in dealing with profound changes involving past injustices to achieve peace building, nurturing democracy, promoting human rights and delivering justice for others. The Heal Zimbabwe Program Manager, Cleto Manjova's recent statements offer more credence about how Zimbabweans must engage in reconciliation.

    Addressing delegates in a debate held at the US Embassy Public Affairs Section, Mr. Manjova said conflict can be necessary but the problem comes when it ends up in violence.

    “Conflict is a necessary evil for progress however, let us not attack each other but the problem.”

    He also said Heal Zimbabwe is encouraging youths to play a part in conflict transformation even by engaging government to transform structures that perpetrate violence during election time. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama was quoted calling for peace and reconciliation saying it is the only way to enhance prosperity: “If you reject the path of violence and division, then you can move towards prosperity and opportunities that unleashes the extraordinary talent of your people, especially young people.”

    Let’s bear in mind that apology also serves to build unity between victims and perpetrators, a change desired in the relational dimension of conflict transformation. In structural and cultural dimensions, efforts like restitution in forms of negotiated discourse and constructed narrative contribute to a cultural mechanism that handles conflict.

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