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Transitional Justice Workshop exposes weaknesses in nation healing
Exiles Forum (ZEF)
July 26, 2011
A workshop held
this weekend by the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) in Botswana has
exposed some of the weakness underlying Zimbabwe's National Healing
Programme. The workshop, which was one among many aimed at ensuring
Diaspora participation in national issues, and in particular to
interrogate issues of national healing, was held on Saturday the
23rd of July in Gaborone, Botswana. It drew 35 participants from
many organizations and professionals such as teachers, musicians
and survivors of torture that are based in Botswana. Support groups
included People to People Coalition of Zimbabwe, Solidarity
Peace Trust, Zimbabwe Teachers in Botswana Association and Global
noted that although the Zimbabwean Diaspora now comprises about
a quarter of Zimbabwe's population, they are in most instances marginalized
from national processes, thus making it imperative for ZEF to carry
out activities, lobbying and advocacy that ensure that Zimbabwe's
exiled community engages with the Constitutional reform, elections
and national healing. The workshop also observed that the National
Healing project as it is currently envisaged in the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) promotes a top-bottom approach instead
of vice-versa, thus making it difficult for survivors of gross human
rights violations to have their opinions heard.
also stressed the importance of institutional reform, especially
the security sector, before any credible election is held in Zimbabwe.
Attendants also noted that in order to prevent impunity, there was
a need for accountability and reparations, among other processes
necessary to heal Zimbabwe. Addressing some of the concerns raised
at the event, the ZEF Executive Director and human rights lawyer
Mr Gabriel Shumba said that any elections that excluded the Diaspora
would lack legitimacy and credibility as this segment of the population
was one of the biggest in the world. Mr Shumba added that amendments
to the Zimbabwe Electoral
Act should ensure that the Diaspora is factored in, saying that
ZEF will engage with the negotiators and the facilitators to the
Global Political Agreement to ensure that this becomes a reality
during the referendum and the elections.
aimed at engaging the Diaspora on the broad issues of national healing
and in particular, transitional justice, are held in partnership
with the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (UK) and are supported
by Trust Africa.
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