There has been a lot of talk about reconciliation in Zimbabwe recently. There are mutterings of a “truth and reconciliation” process in the works, and 24-26 July were named peace days this year. But the peace days have been dismissed as a choreographed initiative, particularly after 15 members of Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe were arrested for wearing black in protest. Human rights abuses continue at Chiadzwa diamond fields, MDC Members of Parliament continue to be arrested under spurious accusations, and political violence persists, particularly in the rural areas. In my view, none of these factors set the stage for a genuine process of national healing or reconciliation.
As one article put it recently: Reconciliation cannot be without acknowledgement and admission of guilt
Here are a few recent text messages from our subscribers around the reconciliation process:
No reconciliation without justice!
Reconciliation should wait till after the elections
Reconciliation is a logical process following an apology and admission of guilt from one party.
Reconciliation is an interesting subject. There are 2 people involved in this issue – the victim(s) and the perpetrator(s) of human rights abuse. Reconciliation can only come when the perpetrator admits they were wrong. The victim has to be convinced that the perpetrator is genuinely admitting to shortcomings, with no conditions. Only then is it possible to reconcile.