ED’s ‘bygones’ call dismissed as non-starter in a hurting country

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By Anna Chibamu

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has been criticised for urging Zimbabweans to forget about the past when there are victims of state perpetrated violence in post-independence era who need closure.

National Transitional Justice Working Group in Zimbabwe (NTJWGZ) deputy chairperson Paul Themba Nyathi, during a dialogue series on reparations and rehabilitation, hit hard on the Zanu PF leader’s calls for Zimbabweans to forget their bitter past.

The MDC founding legislator said Mnangagwa’s utterances could achieve the opposite, that is to increase polarisation and cause more violence within communities.

In his inauguration speech at the National Sports Stadium in 2018, President Mnangagwa said, “Let bygones be bygones. Let us preach love, unity, unity always”.

“It is not possible in the environment we are in to talk about letting bygones be bygones,” Nyathi said.

“We have to get to the bottom of all the violence that has taken place in this country in the past if we look at the environment we are in right now as a nation.

“It is a violation of the constitution that established the NPRC (National Peace and Reconciliation Commission). Anyone who advocates for bygones to be bygones is promoting impunity.

“The tendency to think we can live by the saying ‘Let bygones be bygones’, whatever that means, whether that kind of attitude does not violate our constitution or whether it does not lead to a polarised society or if it is not an attempt to entrench impunity. I leave it to you and that is the reason you are being paid,” said Nyathi.

Commenting on the machete wielding gangs which continue to massacre and rob citizens in the country’s mining communities, Nyathi said this was symptomatic of a government that has failed to deal with past violence episodes.

“Machete gangs is a product of violence that has not been dealt with in the past decades,” he said.

Speaking during the same occasion, Reverend Innocent Motsi warned Zimbabweans that the country belonged to every citizen and not only to the two most prominent parties, Zanu PF and MDC.

“This country does not belong to Zanu PF or MDC and we should never be judged politically. Political polarisation is our biggest challenge and it derails development and national healing.

“We need to come up with some national values. Can we find each other as Zimbabweans? NPRC is also affected by polarisation. How do we find solutions to our problems?” Motsi said.