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Archive for the 'transitional justice' Category

Transitional Justice in Zimbabwe

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Thursday, October 13th, 2011 by Varaidzo Tagwireyi

The USA Embassy played host to a very lively discussion on Transitional Justice in Zimbabwe, based upon a national survey report compiled by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. Shastry Njeru, Manager of the Transitional Justice Section in this organization, presented the findings of the report. This presentation was facilitated by Leon Hartwell, a South African academic, passionate about African politics.

Transitional justice refers to legal or non-legal processes in which past violations are systematically addressed. It is a deliberate process of addressing the wrongs of the past.  Though used synonymously with ‘national healing’, the term refers to a more definitive process, focusing more on righting past wrongs than on just forgiveness and getting over the past.

Njeru reiterated the need for the process to begin, expressing hope that the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, would come up with policy framework for management of a National Healing Process soon. Njeru believes Zimbabwe needs transitional justice because it has gone through several violent processes, namely,

Liberation struggle
Post-independence disturbances & atrocities (Matabeleland & Midlands)
Other processes after the Unity Accord
Land reform
2008 elections

He feels that the ideal transitional justice model for Zimbabwe will draw from both western and traditional models, striking a context-driven balance, in order to achieve results that are legitimate to the citizens of this country

Njeru outlined countrywide outreach efforts of the Human Rights NGO Forum, from 2009 to date, including the Taking Transitional Justice to the People project, focused on seeking opinions of Zimbabweans and clearly showed that most Zimbabweans want restorative as opposed to retributive (revenge) resolutions. The Transitional Justice, National Survey continued on from this, and with the use of scientific research and selection tools 3189 randomly selected people were interviewed on what they thought was important for transitional justice.

Their findings

49% – effective healing can be achieved through compensation.
13% – perpetrators need to openly ask forgiveness.

Who’s responsible for compensation?
24% – individual perpetrators
(The majority of which have nothing themselves)
55% – Government
(Which essentially means the people of Zimbabwe, through taxes)

Who leads process?
60% – churches & government.
(But, which church(s)?

Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration the second, least-trusted to lead process.
(Due to lack of awareness?)

Which periods addressed?

41% – from 2000 onward.
18% – from just after Independence onward.
14% – from the Liberation Struggle onward.
Below 45% – indifferent to questions.
(Due to fear and lack of awareness).

Recommendations for the way forward

Encourage awareness and further discourse through outreach programmes.
Use more victim-centered approaches in further programmes.
Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration needs to spread awareness and encourage discussions.

He concluded by saying that Zimbabweans would have to do the work by demanding more on the part of government, civil society and communities, to engage in the issue, and that if past issues are not addressed now, it will become more costly in the future.

Leon Hartwell’s comments

“A lot of people assume… that democratic elections in Zimbabwe will solve your problems… I don’t think that will happen. Looking at the past, if we don’t [properly] deal with transitional justice, violence will happen again.”

Hartwell believes that despite the nature and results of upcoming elections, unless something concrete happens, transitional justice will become meaningless and that Zimbabwe can no longer drag out the issue.

He naturally, drew parallels to South Africa’s TRC process, asking if it might be one way Zimbabwe can approach transitional justice. Although he stated that the TRC helped to bridge the transition process in SA, with over 21,000 people breaking the silence on apartheid, he admitted to its eventual failure. He said, even though it “did not get the complete truth…it [the process] gave a more complete picture of the truth”. South Africa still has a long way to go, and Hartwell said that the country has much to learn from Zimbabwe, and that his country is having discussions now, that Zimbabwe had in the 90s.  He concluded by that the process will meet with resistance and it is important for civil society to keep the debate alive, in spite of it.

Show me one clean democracy

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Thursday, April 28th, 2011 by Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa

In this moving and thought provoking video clip from The Man Who Committed Thought, the protagonist asks what, really, we mean by justice and democracy, when their foundations are so often rooted in hypocrisy. “I will not be judged by those who refuse to take the speck out of their own eye. They are no fit position to see clearly to take the stone out of mine,” he cautions.

Priest and Minister released

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Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 by Amanda Atwood

The Catholic priest and National Healing Minister who were arrested last week appeared in court yesterday – in leg irons. They were granted bail, but have been charged with contravening the Public Order and Security Act and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly convening a healing service at Silwane Primary School in Lupane, Matabeleland North, without notifying the police.

Read more from this statement from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights:

Father Mkandla, Minister granted bail as lawyers protest against denial of food to pastor

Hwange Magistrate Peter Tomupei Madiba on Tuesday 19 April 2011 granted bail to Catholic Priest Father Marko Mabutho Mkandla and  Hon. Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, the co-Minister of the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation and Integration after they spend six and five nights in detention respectively for allegedly violating the country’s obnoxious security laws.

Magistrate Madiba ordered Father Mkandla and Hon. Mzila-Ndlovu to pay bail amounting to $500 and to surrender their passports with the clerk of court. Father Mkandla and Hon. Mzila-Ndlovu were also ordered not to interfere with State witnesses.

The lawyers, Lizwe Jamela, Nosimilo Chanayiwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) Nikiwe Ncube of Webb, Low and Barry Legal Practitioners and Gugulethu Simango of Dube and Associates, who are all members of ZLHR raised complaints in court against the police for denying Father Mkandla food since his detention at Tsholotsho Police Station. Mkandla’s lawyers told Magistrate Madiba that the police denied their client food and only gave him water during his period in detention.

The lawyers also complained about the police behaviour in denying them access to their clients and refusing to disclose the details pertaining to his detention as they moved him from one police station to another.

Lawyers also protested against the police who brought their clients while in leg irons. Police also deployed their heavily armed anti riot unit at court.

Earlier on police in Hwange on Tuesday 19 April 2011 blocked Jamela, Chanayiwa and Ncube from reaching Hwange Magistrates in Matabeleland North province to represent Mzila-Ndlovu and Father Mkandla, who were set to appear in court in the morning.

The police blocked the lawyers Jamela, Chanayiwa and Ncube from reaching Hwange Magistrates Court after they surprising set up a road block as lawyers entered into the coal mining town to attend court proceedings for Father Mkandla and Mzila Ndlovu, who have been languishing in police detention since their arrest last week.

It appears that the police roadblock had been mounted specifically to target the lawyers for yet unknown reasons.

Eight MDC supporters who were on their way to Hwange Magistrates Court were also detained with the lawyers from 10:30 am to around 17:00 hours.

When stopped at the road block, one police officer quickly jumped into the lawyers’ vehicle and ordered them to drive towards Hwange Police Station. The police interrogated the lawyers about the registration of their vehicle before they were released and managed to represent their clients.

Father Mkandla and Bulilima West Member of Parliament Hon. Mzila Ndlovu were arrested on Wednesday 13 April 2011 and Friday 15 April 2011 respectively and charged with contravening the country’s tough security laws such as the Public Order and Security Act and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly convening a healing service at Silwane Primary School in Lupane, Matabeleland North, without notifying the police.

Minister and Catholic priest arrested for meeting and healing service

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Saturday, April 16th, 2011 by Amanda Atwood

The front page of The Herald today reads: Minister Arrested. My first thought? Who now.

According to The Herald:

National Healing and Reconciliation co-Minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu (MDC) has been arrested on allegations of failing to notify police of a meeting held on Wednesday at a primary school in Lupane. . . . Mzila-Ndlovu, the deputy secretary general of the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, was arrested yesterday morning in Lupane on his way to Victoria Falls where he was supposed to address a national healing meeting.

The following statement from ZLHR shares a bit more information about the arrest, and the arrest of Father Mkandla, who was arrested for convening the healing service Mzila-Ndlovu allegedly didn’t tell the police about.

The Church under attack in Zim as police arrest pastor and MP

Police in Lupane have arrested a Catholic Priest, Father Marko Mabutho Mkandla and Bulilima West Member of Parliament Hon. Moses Mzila-Ndlovu for allegedly convening a meeting without notifying the police.

Father Mkandla, who is represented by Nosimilo Chanayiwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and Nikiwe Ncube of Webb, Low and Barry Legal Practitioners, who is also a member of ZLHR was arrested on Wednesday 13 April 2011 and charged with contravening the country’s tough security laws.

Police charged Father Mkandla with contravening Section 25 of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) after he allegedly convened a healing service at Silwane Primary School in Lupane, Matabeleland North without notifying the police.

The police also charged Father Mkandla with contravening Section 31(a) (i) of Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the State and violating Section 42 (2) of Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, that is causing offence to persons of a particular race or religion.

Father Mkandla was also charged with contravening the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act for allegedly possessing pornographic material. Although the police record at Lupane Police Station showed that Father Mkandla was released on Friday 15 April 2011 and transferred to Bulawayo Police Station, his whereabouts were not known late on Friday.

On Friday 15 April 2011, the police arrested Hon. Mzila-Ndlovu. ZLHR lawyers attended to the Bulilima legislator and will attend to him again on Saturday 16 April 2011.

Meanwhile, an Associated Press story puts the two incidents together and helps make more sense of the whole thing. Except that none of it makes any sense. Arrest a priest for holding a healing service. Arrest the Minister of National Healing for attending it (and when he’s on his way to address another national healing meeting)? You can’t make things like this up, they’re so absurd.

Rituals team acquited

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Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 by Amanda Atwood

Many thanks for all of your solidarity messages and support for the Rooftop Promotions team who had been charged with ‘criminal nuisance’ after their arrest on 5 January 2011.

They were acquited yesterday, according to this statement from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Magistrate acquits Rooftop artists

Mutare Magistrate Nixon Mangoti on Tuesday 22 March 2011 acquitted nine Rooftop artists and their driver, who were charged with criminal nuisance after staging a theatre performance entitled “Rituals” in Chimanimani, Manicaland Province.

Magistrate Mangoti acquitted the nine Rooftop artists and their driver at the close of the State case after the artists’ lawyers Blessing Nyamaropa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and Cosmas Chibaya of Chibaya and Associates applied for discharge at the close of the State case.

State prosecutor Fletcher Karombe had led evidence from three witnesses since trial commenced on 17 March 2011.

In acquitting the Rooftop artists, Magistrate Mangoti ruled that the State had not led any evidence that a reasonable court could convict the artists.

The Rooftop artists namely, Sylvanos Mudzvova, Chipo Bizure, Joice Mpofu, Zenzo Nyathi, Mandla Moyo, Rutendo Chigudu, Amina Lloyd Ayamu, Joshua Mwase, Norman Kamema and the driver Shingirai Muto were arrested on 5 January 2011 at Nhedziwa Growth Point in Chimanimani, Manicaland Province and were detained at Cashel Valley Police station.

They were charged with contravening Section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act as read with Section 2 (a) (ii) of the third schedule to Section 46 of the said Act that is criminal nuisance.

The police accused them of unlawfully holding a public performance, where they performed a drama reminiscent of the political disturbances of June 2008 that incited the affected members of the public to revive their differences.

“Rituals” team released

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Monday, February 21st, 2011 by Amanda Atwood

The theatre group arrested in Centenary Friday for putting on a play about national healing have been released, according to this statement from Rooftop Promotions:

The Rooftop Promotions team of “Rituals” has scored another victory after spending more than 24 hours in police cells between Centenary and Bindura. This is the 3rd time the production has had an encounter with the police and each time we have emerged mentally and spiritually stronger with firmer and unshakeable resolve to stand with our craft.

Enroute from Bindura this evening, we learnt with great joy that Joyce Mpofu, has just won the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) Best Actress Award for her brilliant performance in “Rituals”. How beautiful it would have been had she been available in person to receive this industry coveted performers prize. Shows resume tomorrow in Glendale and Nzvimbo at 11am and 2pm respectively.