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Reconciliation in Zimbabwe not being taken seriously

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When the unity government was formed in Zimbabwe, an organ of national healing and reconciliation was also established. Its main mission was to bring back order in the violence-maimed societies, rebuild unions in disjointed communities, reintroduce peace where violence was the order of the day, and bring back that oneness that we enjoyed swimming in before the political chaos.

This implies that people have been looking at this organ expecting action beyond mere talking. By this time we are expecting to have seen the members of the organ moving around in communities, preaching the gospel of peace, coexistence and love. We have for long been expecting the organ to spearhead radio and television programmes that reinforce the importance of peace and love. We have for long been waiting to see some initiative that make people share their feelings, forgive whoever they think is guilty and bring back the spirit of coexistence.

On the 7th of April 2009, the chairman of the organ spoke about reconciliation to stakeholders including churches. That gave people hope that peace had finally come to hand. Unfortunately very little has been done beyond that so far. If this organ had done its work well, a good ground for a peaceful Constitution making process would have been set.

It seems a Non Governmental Organization, Heal Zimbabwe, has seen the gap and is now initiating action. Its programmes that are reportedly taking shape in Muzarabani are a contribution that deserves a pat on the back. Among other good works, Heal Zimbabwe has embarked on initiating memorial services for those victims of political violence. Such moves are likely to bring people together, get them to discuss how bad violence is and give the family members an opportunity to give their deceased the respect that is customarily and religiously granted to the dead. That way the organisation is addressing the customary and religious side, which plays a great role in establishing forgiveness in societies.

Can these initiatives therefore serve as a wake up call to the Organ of National Healing and reconciliation? There is nothing yet on the ground that we can attribute to this organ and as citizens we feel that that organ has not served its purpose especially amid reports that violence and threats are rejuvenating in the country. That puts to question the possibility of any future peaceful elections. People still think violence is the way to go; surviving victims of past violence are still looking for ways to retaliate. If that tension is not addressed, then the existence of an organ called “National Healing” is unjustified.

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