By Lisa Nyanhongo
THE National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) has urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa step aside from to leading the country’s reconciliation efforts.
The organisation said Mnangagwa should only help fully capacitate the National Peace and Reconcilliation Commission (NPRC) to lead the process of transitioning the country into a pacifist state.
This comes as the country continues to experience bedevilling conflicts when its violent past has not been resolved.
The NTJWG called upon Mnangagwa to support the (NPRC) and allow it to conduct meaningful investigations relating to past serious human rights violations.
In a statement to commemorate the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, the NTJWG said the NPRC should focus on reforms to create a conducive environment for victims, their families, and the rest of society to tell the truth about the past without fear as prerequisites for credible truth-seeking in Zimbabwe.
“The NPRC should lead efforts to address the Gukurahundi and other occurrences of serious human rights violations guided by respect for human rights and tolerance for diverse narratives about the past. This should be done for the country to have an effective remedy and reparations, victims of violations have the right to know the truth about what happened, who perpetrated the violations, under whose instruction and why,” the organisation said.
“NTJWG notes with concern that the country’s transition to a peaceful nation remains at a crossroads due to the continuation of conflicts and violent episodes. The need to speak out against these remain important. At the same time, the need for victims and survivors to speak out equally remain paramount,” it said.
“The NTJWG stands in solidarity with victims, survivors, and their families across the country who demand the truth about human rights violations that may have passed but remain unforgotten. The NTJWG believes that a successful transitional justice process is possible in Zimbabwe.”
“The importance of the right to truth in a society like Zimbabwe cannot be overemphasized. This right is pivotal to the success of the nation’s reconciliation efforts and creating an environment where peace may thrive,” the statement reads.
The NTJWG reiterated calls for an inclusive and National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC)-led inquiry into the Gukurahundi atrocities where President Emmerson Mnangagwa should reconsider his role in the process and allow the NPRC to fulfil its mandate while he provides with the necessary support and cooperation.
“On 10 March 2022, the Chronicle newspaper reported that as part of the process led by the President and the traditional leaders, there are plans to launch official hearings to tackle the Gukurahundi.”
“While all stakeholders must participate in resolving the Gukurahundi, the NPRC must lead the process. Given the State’s involvement in the Gukurahundi, the planned hearings are unlikely to facilitate truth-seeking and truth-telling, making them ineffective and tokenistic,” added NTJWG.
The organisation also recommended that all stakeholders must work together to move the country from a nation where human rights violations are rampant to one where human rights are respected, protected and promoted.