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Political Violence Victims Blast Lethargic Peace Commission

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By Bulawayo Correspondent


REGINA Ndlovu remains ensnared in grief and betrayal, almost 13 years after her house was burnt down in 2008 by Zanu PF supporters in St Peters on the outskirts of Bulawayo.

Ndlovu’s only crime was supporting the then Morgan Tsvangirai-led opposition MDC-T.

She says the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC)’s failure to address political violence has created unnecessary anxiety within society.

“When NPRC was established, my hope was that those people who burnt my huts were going to be made to account for their actions.

“Almost seven years after the formation of the commission, the perpetrators are still walking free.

“I long for the day when the people who burnt my huts would be taken to court to account for their actions.

“Only after that I will sleep peaceful nights,” she said in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com.

Another political violence victim, Itai Muusha lost two goats in political violence in Chimanimani in Manicaland province.

He is among many MDC supporters who were tormented at terror bases during the build-up to the controversial Presidential run-off election in June 2008.

Several such bases sprouted around the country during that period.

“What I went through at the base is hell on earth,” he recalled.

“Zanu PF youths raided my homestead early in the morning and took me to their base where I was detained for two days.

“In a crouching position, I was forced to insert my head into a loose car tyre while the youths took turns to stroke my buttocks with sticks and logs in traumatising and humiliating episodes.

“The beatings were so severe that I was bedridden for almost a week after my release from the base.”

He said some of the youths who are also his relatives have been clandestinely sending other people to ask for forgiveness but vows never to forgive his tormentors.

“We cannot talk of forgiveness when there is no justice. These people should just be arrested and brought before the courts for their crimes,” said Muusha.

Pilate Moyo, another MDC supporter who also lost his livestock to Zanu PF youths in Insiza in Matabeleland South during the period also took a swipe at the government’s lackadaisical approach towards addressing issues of post-conflict justice.

“I am angry that the government is failing to adequately fund NPRC so that it investigates all political violence cases.

“Our major fear as victims is that some perpetrators are dying before they are held accountable for their violent behaviour.

“Some of the victims have also died while their tormentors have not been subjected to any form of trial,” said Moyo.

Speaking at a consultative meeting with Matabeleland North peace committee sometime before, NPRC Commissioner in Charge of Finance, Administration and Human Resources Golden Chekenyere said the commission was facing serious financial challenges.

Chikenyere said the commission was this year planning to cut down its outreach activities including the number of victims who are going to give evidence during planned public hearings.

NPRC is set to hold nationwide public hearings on several conflicts which affected the country including the Gukurahundi atrocities which left thousands of civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces either dead or maimed.

MDC Veterans Activists Association (VAA) secretary general Bekithemba Sibanda described NPRC as a useless organ created to hoodwink the international community into the false belief something was being done to address the situation.

“We have observed that NRC has not delivered any progressive achievements since it was created.

“In fact, we thought that in the process of achieving reconciliation and peace as a nation, we should start by addressing the fundamental need for justice.

“People were killed, properties destroyed and others injured or displaced. About 99% of the alleged perpetrators were never subjected to the justice system.

“Therefore, it actually means that all was done with impunity. NRC is a joke created to fool the international community,” said Sibanda.