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The Silence, Building True Peace. A report on the disturbances in
and the Midlands, 1980 - 1988. A Summary.
for Justice and Peace (CCJP) & Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)
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PDF version (304KB)
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This report is a short
version of a much longer book, which was published and released
for sale in Zimbabwe in 1997. This first book was researched and
written by the Legal Resources Foundation (LRF) and the Catholic
Commission for Justice and Peace. (CCJP ) 2000 copies of this longer
book have been published, and most have been sold.
A copy was sent to His
Excellency the President, and other Cabinet Ministers in Zimbabwe
have also read the report. There has been no official comment about
the report from the President or Government.
was the first book written?
who live in Matabeleland and parts of the Midlands know only too
well what happened to them during the 1980s. Their lives were affected
in serious ways by both government troops and also by dissidents
and youth brigades at this time.
However, most people
from other parts of Zimbabwe still have no idea what it was like
for those who were suffering. They have no idea how people still
suffer as a result of the violence that took place. People who were
affected also do not have ways of talking to people in other parts
of the country about what happened. Ordinary people all over Zimbabwe
need to know what happened during those years in their own country.
has this summary been written?
first book was very long, and had to include many details in order
to make sure that the claims of the book were well supported. This
made the book expensive to produce and expensive to sell.
The writing of a short
version was therefore seen as a good idea. It includes only the
most important parts of the first book. It has been produced more
cheaply so that it can be available in communities that want to
know what the report says. This shorter version has also been translated
into Ndebele and Shona. In this way, people in affected regions
can read how their history has been told, and people in unaffected
regions can learn about it for the first time.
is the book structured?
Part One of the report tells the history of the 1980s in
Zimbabwe, written as a general story. Many types of information
were used to put this history together, including human rights reports,
histories by others, Government sources, and The Chronicle newspaper.
This section tells what government ministers and dissidents and
army troops were saying and doing at the time, and shows how events
happened in Zimbabwe during these years.
Two includes two case studies, which are covered in more
detail. These are Tsholotsho and Matobo, one district from each
province of Matabeleland. These short histories tell what actually
happened day by day and week by week, exactly as ordinary people
who live in these districts told it to us.
We know that the stories
told here are only a handful of the stories still to be told, but
it is a beginning. Because of limited finance, it was not possible
to include every district in one book, or to speak to every person
in Tsholotsho and Matobo. But it was hoped that by including two
areas in some detail, other people reading the report could start
to get an idea of what life was like for those affected by the violence.
Three of the report looks at some of the problems people
still face because of the disturbances. It tries to begin assessing
what the real material and emotional cost has been to the region.
It also looks at the problem of mass graves and shallow graves in
some detail, and has some recommendations about these.
Four of the report has some important recommendations about
how damage to the region can be repaired, and how steps can be taken
to ensure this never happens again. The recommendations are summarised
at the end of this document.
is currently enjoying a period of stability which did not exist
twelve years ago. There are now no emergency powers in force, and
people have more freedom of movement and speech than ever before.
Before Independence, ninety years of colonial rule caused great
injustices and suffering. In particular, the 1970s War of Liberation
cost the lives of possibly 30 000 people. There were other costs
to this war. Thousands lost property, livestock and suffered permanent
injuries. Thousands more gave up their opportunity to get an education,
or were forced to live for years in protected villages. For all
these people, the suffering continues in many ways.
The events of the 1970s
have been well documented. CCJP is among the many organisations
that stood up for human rights during these years, and who have
published books and videos making sure that there is a permanent
record of these things. The Man in the Middle (1975), and The Civil
War in Rhodesia (1976) are two such publications, among others.
The LRF was not established until 1984.
While much has
been written about the liberation struggle, there has been little
written about what happened in Zimbabwe in the 1980s. This report
acknowledges the historical context within which events of the 1980s
took place and does not seek to blame anyone. This report now seeks
to break the silence surrounding what happened in Zimbabwe in the
1980s. Over one thousand people came forward to tell their stories
in recent years. The report seeks to give these people a chance
to be heard. It is hoped that truth will lead to reconciliation.
To help this happen, there are practical recommendations at the
end of the report on how to help the people affected.
the full document
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