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on the workshop held in Mutare
Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR)
June 15, 2009
the ROHR Zimbabwe workshop held at Mutare museum conference room
- 10 June 2009
10 June 2009 ROHR Zimbabwe held a leadership development workshop
in Mutare. Delegates were drawn from the eight districts of Manicaland.
This year, ROHR
Zimbabwe has since done 4 workshops in Mashonaland central, Matebeleland,
and Midlands and Manicaland. The workshop are an opportunity for
the organizations to strengthen its structures of human rights leaders
within the communities who should influence local initiatives for
the effective advocacy and defense for people's rights and
are also, and more importantly, used as an opportunity for the organization
to consult on the people on current national issues and also to
capture their opinions and views.
which was facilitated by ROHR National Chairman, also drew participation
from colleagues in other organizations such as Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, Zimbabwe
Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), National
Constitutional Assembly, Mutare residents associations and supporters
of the three political parties (ZANU PF, MDC - T and MDC -
the people said:
On Constitution (GPA Article VI)
- The constitution
is a social contract between the leaders and the led. The led
tell the leaders that we do not all desire to rule can you do
it on our behalf but do it well. Therefore the constitution is
an opportunity for the led to decide exactly how the leaders should
lead the people.
- The process
of making the Zimbabwe constitution will also determine the quality
and content of the constitution. The content of the new constitution
should reflect the aspirations of the people and more importantly
rescue Zimbabwe from the paradigm that brought it down to its
knees in the past decade.
- People said
the constitution-making phase must not be used as misdirection
by politicians who might see it as an opportunity to shift people's
attention from the politically motivated crimes done after the
29 March elections.
Promotion of Equality, National healing, Cohesion and Unity (GPA
The people said they learnt of the Inclusive Government's
intention to persuade people to forgive each and forget the effects
of the 2008 political violence as a prerequisite for national unity
participants were vowing to revenge what happened to them none the
said that it would be difficult for people to forget while known
perpetrators were still walking scot free with their lives. An example
was given of Joseph Chinotimba the vice chairman of a war veterans
association, who they alleged to have killed many people in Buhera
where he contested as an MP candidate and lost. They allege that
Chinotimba tied the dead bodies to the trailer of his truck in public
display, threatening people with the same fate if they refused to
support ZANU PF.
The MDC was
warned not to rush to the media and the communities with forgive
and forget message because the people still do not trust ZANU PF.
they see ZANU PF turning back and reactivating its crack down on
the people. Will MDC be able to face the same people telling them
that they lied?
Here are some
of the highlights of what people said on the issue of National healing
- This is
not the right time to call for national healing and reconciliation
because the violence is still happening within communities.
- There is
no guarantee that politicians have reformed and people live in
constant fear that the violence campaign can easily begin since
the ZANU PF's infrastructure of violence is still intact.
Commanders of the army, who were known as ward coordinators are
still in the camps that were used to unleash terror in the communities
- People feel
that Article VII of the GPA conveniently avoided the use of the
word Justice. There should be justice and if possible compensation
before the Government starts talking about National unity.
- Women in
the conference pointed out that there is not money that will be
able to compensate the damage (psychological and physical) done
to rape victims.
the workshop spoke hard against the government led national healing
and reconciliation process which they said was a clear sign of lack
of proper commitment to heal the nation and move forward. It was
clearly spelt out that the nation is not ripe for national healing;
many spoke against the government's involvement in the process
saying that this could negatively affect people's participation.
Participants said that a credible process can only be led by independent
persons free of government's interference like the South African
Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was led by Archbishop Desmond
also encouraged the government and civil society to find common
ground and work together in the constitutional reform process which
they said was the only missing link for free and fair elections.
Most of the delegates said that a people driven constitution comes
from a people driven process. The government cannot decide how it
shall govern the people since it is only the duty of citizens to
define how they shall be governed by writing a constitution for
attendants reiterated the need for peace alleging that violence
was still widespread in rural areas. Recent cases of political violence
were reported where purported MDC supporters had their houses burnt
down in Chipinge and Nyanga in May 2009.
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