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Crisis Report - Issue 235
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
November 05
, 2013

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Truth telling vital in national healing

Civil society has strongly voiced the need for truth-telling as a requisite for holistic national healing, peace and reconciliation following a National Peace and Reconciliation Conference that ran from 28 October to 31 October under the auspices of the annual Ideas Festival in Bulawayo.

The Reconciliation Conference was organised by Bulawayo Agenda in conjunction with the Church and Civil Society Forum (CCSF) and was attended by over 70 delegates representing the churches, civic society, academia and media who all concurred that there is need for a commission on National Healing to be set up so as to lay the past to rest, especially on issues that have haunted the nation since independence.

Wadzanai Vere of the CCSF and Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, in her speech on working together towards a national peace framework which dwelt on key areas of consensus on process, content and structure, said:

“…the civil society, churches and government have a mandate to strengthen localised mechanisms or systems of truth telling and peace building.”

Meanwhile in a speech presented on her behalf, S Zembe who is the Principal Director for Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration (ONHRI) echoed the same sentiments on peace building.

“It is my belief that the ideas which we are going to impart to each other,” Zembe said, “will strengthen our capabilities as individuals, churches, civil society, academia, business people, ministers of the word of God, religious leaders and influential citizens to ensure that social justice, peace and dignity are entrenched as essential ingredients of human life.”

The delegates noted that national healing is not about settling political scores but that it had to address economic and social issues that society has been fighting over. One participant only identified as Ndlovu said, there was need to talk about the past so that we heal conflict at national level, institutional, family and societal level.

The forum provided a platform for participation to unpack the constitution and further relate various sections with the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission aimed at enhancing understanding of and programming for peace by churches and civil society organisations. The conference also highlighted actions that CSOs can explore to contribute towards a meaningful outcome of the national reconciliation agenda and peace building initiatives.

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