Zim's National Healing Organ Has Failed – Zimrights

A report released by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum states that many Zimbabweans who have suffered from political violence are not convinced that the National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration organ can deal with the many tensions that still characterise the country.

The report dated July 2011, states that about 74 percent of the victims who participated in the study don’t know the existence of the organ and the work it does while the remainder is not confident that it can address their emotive issues.

According to the report 74 percent of the respondents had never heard of the organ while others who had an idea about its existence gave it a very negative rating.

The National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration organ was established in 2009 under the Global Political Agreement (GPA) between Zanu (PF) and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) political parties.

Its mandate is to advise government on the best possible ways to achieve national healing and reconciliation in the country.

However, one 71 year-old man summed up the anonymity of the organ when he was asked whether he knows anything about the body. He said, “I may lie to you about the organ. I was not yet born when it was formed,” illustrating just how useless the body has become.

The report identifies security agents, political activists, traditional leaders and militant youth groups  as the main perpetrators of violence, especially in 2008 when about 500 MDC supporters were murdered, according to the party’s own estimates.

“Political activists topped the list of perpetrators of violations committed countrywide. A higher percentage of violations was committed by the militant youth groups in the Matebeleland regions,” the report stated.

“The reason that political activists top the list of violators in all provinces may reasonably be attributed to the fact that violence in Zimbabwe is regularly linked to major events when political power is fiercely contested.”

Many of the people who were interviewed as part of the study said they are still struggling to shrug off the experiences of the past. They said they are still bitter about what they went through and want to be compensated before they can put the matter to rest.

Most of them said there is no likelihood that the perpetrators of violence will ever repent or admit to the violent acts they had committed while the victims will never heal.

According to the report of the victims are ready to forgive the perpetrators of violence but want that to be done in an atmosphere where the truth about what happened is told. Some also want the offenders to be prosecuted while very few expressed feelings of revenge. Others also want to be compensated.

In one of the areas worst affected by political violence, a woman was asked what she would need to be healed, she said, “My husband.” Her husband was murdered during the 2008 political violence.