TRC vital for national healing

parliament_zimbabweDetails of the number of people killed in the violence surrounding the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008 has been tabled by the MDC in parliament.

The detailed information, carried elsewhere in this paper, makes shocking reading. It is a catalogue of one of the darkest hours in our nations history.

We all knew about the abominable things done in the name of Zanu (PF) in 2008, but having these statistics graphically outlines the full horror. To think that all these people were killed and a further 200,000 displaced after having their property looted highlights the officially sanctioned destruction that took place on a major scale.

This was indeed a form of ethnic cleansing, the second in Mugabes tyrannical 30-year reign, the first being Gukurahundi. The term ethnic cleansing is usually used to describe the senseless massacre of a rival tribe. In Zimbabwe, it took the form of an attempt to eradicate an entire political party from the countryside. Perceived opposition (MDC) members were raped, beaten, robbed and murdered by thugs from another party (Robert Mugabes ZANU) in an attempt to secure the continued rule of their candidate.

They succeeded, and the world watched. Zanu (PF) now says that the army was not involved, but this was a military action. The eye-witness reports of thousands of victims testify to this fact.

We agree with MDC that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission must now be set up to bring healing and closure to this dark period. Zanu (PF) is still in denial. Their parliamentarians walked out of the house when the motion was tabled – tacitly accepting culpability for the killings.

Before healing can take place the nation must take stock of what happened. We must establish the facts. Discuss and prove who did what to whom, when and where. We have to allow people to come forward and tell their stories. We must also force the perpetrators to confess and apologise to the victims and their families. It is up to the victims to forgive or not, but if any healing is to be done the victims must have their day to speak about what happened to them.

This cannot happen as long as the ruling party insists on hiding from the facts. Healing cannot take place until the perpetrators come forward and confess, or are forced to in the interest of national reconciliation.

The criminals cannot be allowed to walk away, but rather should receive the necessary punishment as prescribed by the laws of the country.

Our nation cannot move forward while the rapists and murderers continue to live among us. The emotional scarring experienced by the victims and their loved-ones is life-long, no amount of compensation or apologies can restore their dignity. However, the country does need to move forward and open a new chapter one that is not characterised by violence, murder, rape and rigged elections. We cannot close this bloody page for as long as Zanu (PF) shows contempt for the victims. As long as the legislators of the party responsible for these heinous crimes refuse to acknowledge the victims the wounds will continue to fester to the detriment of social life across our nation. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, but one day it will blow up – we cannot afford this.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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