NGOs Craft Policy Document On Gukurahundi Healing

The Transition Justice Working Group (NTJWG) is working on a policy document to help speed up the peace and reconciliation process in the country and help communities find closure on disturbances that affected them in the past.

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In an interview during the three-day 2018 transitional justice symposium that ended in Bulawayo last Friday, Reverend Ray Motsi, who is the thematic leader for memorialisation in the NTJWG, said national healing was important for Zimbabweans.

“This symposium is meant to help Zimbabweans and neighbouring countries to understand what is going on in Zimbabwe in terms of transitional justice. We’re also trying to come up with a policy document that is a guideline for everybody who wants to be involved in issues of transition justice.

“When we talk about transition justice, we mean the fundamental issues that have to be dealt with before we get any meaningful change in the country,” said Rev Motsi.

He said the symposium brought together different organisations to discuss issues that are limiting Zimbabweans from being able to move on.

“We have key civic society leaders, representatives from embassies, African Union and civic study for violence and reconciliation in South Africa. We also have other African countries which include Kenya and Uganda and representatives from political parties,” said Rev Motsi.

The NTJWG deputy chairperson, Mr Paul Themba Nyathi, said the symposium was important in the prevailing Zimbabwean environment as it was meant to produce a people-driven transitional justice policy.

“As we’re all aware, the constitution of Zimbabwe established the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).

“This was recognition of human rights and that we have to map the way forward on issues of human rights violations,” said Mr Nyathi.

He urged participants to seriously consider standing up and actively participating in national processes to hold leaders accountable and to benefit from contributions to national processes.

NPRC chairperson Retired Justice Selo Nare explained to the participants the functions of the commission and the key issues involved in reconciliation.

“The condition for healing is truth, forgiveness and reconciliation. Reconciliation requires acknowledgement of the injury by the aggressor and entails restoring relations that are free from yesterday’s hurt.

“It’s about developing new relationships and new attitudes. Reconciliation is the meeting point between past pains and the future,” said Retired Justice Nare.

During their discussions, participants at the symposium said there was a need for shadow policies and commissions to mirror Government appointed commissions.

They said there was also need to include victims in the transitional justice process.

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