By staff reporter
PLUMTREE residents have urged the Zimbabwe government, whose majority is Zanu PF, to first address the Matabeleland and Midlands genocide that claimed approximately 20 000 people in the 1980s before setting up a peace and reconcilation commission.
Approximately 500 people mobilised by Plumtree Development Trust converged in Plumtree today to contribute to the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill hearing convened by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.
Our dedicated team collated some critical points which were articulated by the generality of the citizens during the meeting.
Although our list of points is not exhaustive we believe that the following points aptly summarise recommendations made by participants during the meeting.
Below we publish a summary of the recommendations:
- Killers of 20 000 innocent civilians during the Gukurahundi massacre must first apologise before setting up this commission.
- The Commission is not necessary; it is just a waste of government resources.
- The chief perpetrator which is the current government led by Zanu PF should accept responsibility of causing conflict before setting this Commission.
- The Parly should have consulted ordinary citizens, mainly victims of government-inspired conflict before appointing commissioners.
- The Commission should investigate conflicts that occurred before it was set particularly Gukurahundi.
- The imposition of a minister as an overseer of the Commission renders it partisan.
- The Parly should start afresh at the grassroots and not present to citizens what they have already initiated.
- The provision on ‘investigation’ in the Bill is not consistent with the ideology of ‘healing’
- ‘We (Kalangas) were insulted and we are still waiting for an apology’
- Commissioners must be recommended by citizens not Parly or the President.
- The clergy or church representatives must be part of the commissioners.
- Current commissioners must be fired after their 5 year term because they haven’t done anything tangible since 2013.
- Commission offices must be decentralised to districts so that they can easily be accessed by ordinary citizens.
- The Bill should be simplified in local languages and information disseminated to communities
- The provision on benefits of commissioners like housing and loans should be excluded.
- The Commission is a booby trap because the ruling regime will not allow a commission that can arrest it to work effectively.
- Commission cannot be taken seriously when citizens are still disappearing. What is its role?
- The Commission should set a tone which is victim-centred. Victims must speak for themselves.
- The commission cannot achieve anything if the perpetrator is still in power.
- Each community has a peculiar situation. There is need for serious engagement with grassroots communities.
- The Parly should not engage urbanites. People who need the Commission the most are rural citizens.
- The Bill should clarify where to report issues of conflict.
- Provision on legal representation should be scrapped off.
- The responsible Minister should not endorse reports “alone”. Due consultation should be done.
- Hearing shld be held with marginalised communities that bore the brunt of the Gukurahundi genocide.
- The Bill should address issues to do with compensation especially for conflict victims.