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Healing organ set for review
Wongai Zhangazha, The Independent
and Zimbabwe's GPA
negotiators have agreed to a review of the dormant Organ of National
Healing and Reconciliation to give it life and a mandate to justify
its existence. The organ's issue was raised with the Sadc-backed
facilitators after several failed attempts by ministers responsible
for the organ - Vice President John Nkomo, Sekai Holland and Moses
Mzila Ndlovu - to summon the country's security ministers
and security chiefs to meetings aimed at addressing alleged selective
application of the law and resurgent political violence over the
past three months.
office tried to summon Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, State
Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Home Affairs co-ministers
Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone but was spurned.
commander General Constantine Chiwenga, army chief Philip Sibanda,
police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and CIO director-general
Happyton Bonyongwe also snubbed the negotiators saying they reported
to President Robert Mugabe.
who is also one of the negotiators, said there were frustrations
in the ministry because it operated in a vacuum and there was no
enabling Act giving the department authority to investigate cases
and summon people for interviews.
last round of negotiations held in Cape Town, the organ was under
scrutiny after an assessment on the performance of the ministry
revealed that it was not functional. Issues were raised of how difficult
it was for it to operate without any written legislation,"
said Mzila Ndlovu.
He said the
absence of a law to give direction to the organ was one of the oversights
of the GPA.
work is presently done in close liaison with Jomic, which supervises
its work and reports to cabinet.
intervened and it was agreed that there be a serious review of the
organ on national healing. It was decided that there be a framework
for this ministry to ensure that we really do our work."
hoped that the negotiators would start working on the legal basis
of the organ at their next meeting.
has no clearly defined policy on what its day-to-day activities
are leading to some analysts calling it irrelevant.
They argue that
the organ is just "a smokescreen to cover up government's
reluctance to tackle head-on the perpetrators of political violence".
and behaviour of the MDC towards the issue of justice for victims
of political violence is disappointing," said an analyst.
"They seem to be colluding with Zanu PF to sweep the issue
under the carpet. One would have thought the MDC would be driven
by values of respect for life and the principle of justice rather
than by selfish political considerations."
not just about an enabling Act," the analyst said. "It
is also about political will. I doubt that there is sufficient courage
and the will to deal with this issue in the current government set
up. There are people with skeletons in the cupboard and they are
afraid of being prosecuted. I have not heard of any country in the
world that has achieved truth, justice and reconciliation while
the perpetrators of the violence and injustice are still in power."
accepted the criticism saying he was disappointed by the way the
national healing process was being operated.
He said: "The
only national healing outreach campaign which we jointly held since
I joined the ministry was last year when we went on a shoe distribution
exercise in the Midlands, Gwanda and Bulawayo.
a noble thing to do assisting vulnerable children but with the current
work that we are expected to do, I was not convinced. I am still
failing to understand the connection with the issue."
The organ is
likely to clash with the proposed Human Rights Commission (HRC)
that will deal with human rights cases which happened after the
formation of the inclusive
government in 2009.
described the proposal as mischievous and insensitive to human rights
just ignore issues of the past. For me the real work should start
on ethnic healing. People should accept that for healing to take
place those who violated human rights issues should come out in
the open and apologise.
we are facing now are historical and should be addressed. The HRC
will be insensitive to victims. I don't subscribe to the notion
that it is water under the bridge. I think this issue must be brought
back to the negotiators and say when we created this what did we
have in mind," said Mzila-Ndlovu.
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