MDC and ZANU PF delegates meet over reconciliation efforts

The top decision making bodies of ZANU PF and the two MDC formations convened a historic meeting in Harare on Wednesday to explore ways of eradicating the culture of impunity in the country.

The indaba, hosted by the three ministers responsible for national healing and reconciliation, brought together politburo members from ZANU PF and national executive members from the MDC formations.

Although the meeting was held behind closed doors, SW Radio Africa is reliably informed that the core objective of the gathering was to work out a permanent solution to end violence in the country.

Many say the meeting will be a big test for the coalition parties, whose commitment to a power sharing agreement that led to the formation of the unity government has been in doubt.

A source who attended the meeting told us the atmosphere during the four hour indaba was good and that officials from all sides were given an opportunity to address the gathering.

There were no fireworks. All sides committed themselves to move ahead and have a permanent solution to violence and human rights violations. Even the two co-Home Affairs Ministers acknowledged that their work was hampered mostly by politicians who interfere with the police force, the source told us.

The gathering of the top decision makers from the three parties to the Global Political Agreement also agreed to work out a political system that respects and protects all the components of the Zimbabwean society. This, according to our source, will ensure that nobody loses their life because of a political opinion or ethnic or regional affiliation.

The power-sharing agreement that led to the creation of the unity government last year calls for reconciliation as part of a series of steps leading to a new constitution and national elections. The country has a history of organised political violence and few consequences for the perpetrators.

Exiled Anglican Reverend Lameck Mutete told us he believes that a stable democracy in the country will remain a distant dream as long as the sad legacy of violence and intimidation against political opponents is not dealt with in a genuine and thorough process of reconciliation.

Its worthwhile for the parties to sit on a roundtable but weve had such meetings before that in the end they didnt achieve anything tangible. My only fear is that it might end up being a table agreement, Reverend Mutete said.

He said the only way to end violence in the country is for people to realize and acknowledge the rule of law.

As long as you have people who think they are above the law, national reconciliation and healing will remain a pipe dream. What ever solutions you come up with on paper will never work as long as you have people who violate human rights with impunity knowing they are fully insulated from prosecution, the Reverend said.

Many Zimbabweans argue that any reconciliation and healing process should be all-encompassing and deal with issues of human rights and justice across a range of political, social and economic acts. They said this should not only involve those implicated in the 2008 atrocities, but also those who participated in the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s.

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