Peace structures key to peace building

The second anniversary of the coalition government coincides with this years commemorations of the UN International Day of peace.

The legacy of the coalition government among other things was the call for humanity to breathe the air of peace from the degenerating crisis that had claimed innocent lives, caused deep seated suffering, loss of property and wide scale abuse of human rights by the Mugabe led government and political party during the reign of terror poll in 2008.

In blunt terms, the purpose of the coalition government was to bring transformation to the national community from a painful legacy of violence and a multi man made crisis to a free, peaceful society built on the values of freedom, respect for human rights, economic prosperity, tolerance, accountability, transparency, good governance, respect for the rule of law and free media. The signed Global Political Agreement provides the basis upon which the coalition government should be monitored and evaluated on the specific things that the three principals Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara agreed to undertake and implement for the betterment of the ordinary Zimbabwean ravaged by endless catastrophes.

Before looking at whether the coalition government is serving its purpose or living up to expectations, it is pertinent to interrogate what led to the conceiving of this uncultured beast with no DNA or identity and whose interests it was inevitably going to appease. Interestingly, far from being a product of the people as a credible election would have done, the coalition government is a political boardroom negotiation to end fighting that was being driven by power struggles. The idea of the majority of Zimbabweans being the major stakeholders wielding negotiating power was lost at the negotiation table and the outcome of the negotiations was a delicate case of negotiators willing to or not to perform according to what they wrote on paper.

Who then was the ultimate winner of the coalition government? Credited with bringing some form of peace, economic resuscitation, service delivery and peace meal reforms, the coalition government should be held accountable to what it set out to do and also with where the future of Zimbabwe is going.

ROHR Zimbabwe notes with growing concern that although a pause button was put to the large scale man made crises; the institutional, legal and structural reforms prevailing, fall short of the acceptable conditions to guarantee sustainable peace and observance of human rights for all. With the ongoing constitutional outreach going on, an insight has exposed the frailty of the reforms in curbing all forms of organized violence and managing conflict before it degenerates into destructive forces.

From reports of violence, intimidation, internal displacements from isolated places around the country, there is no doubt that the factors that led to the 2008 orgy of violence are still predominantly at play and in full swing. Regrettably, the infrastructure, systems and structures for organized violence, torture and intimidation have not been disbanded in the communities.

The tragedy is that the security forces and law enforcement agents have not been equipped or transformed to guarantee the security of all persons regardless of political affiliation. To make matters worse, there are still surfacing allegations of lack of independence on the bench, casting serious doubts on the deliverance of justice and upholding of the rule of law.

Lack of legal and institutional reform has proved beyond doubt that the country is still lacking in capacity to deal with justice issues springing back to the post independence era not to mention the recent fresh wounds from 2008. The issue of National healing therefore is still a delicate one. The GPA deliberately omitted the issue of justice and consequently, the national healing exercise has been seriously undermined by lack of political will and impunity.

The undoing and the way forward from the coalition government herein lies in the same Pandora box. Lack of credibility and mandate from the people has made this government immune from responding to the peoples needs and aspirations. With or without the endorsement of the people the determination and sustenance to remain in power is hinged to other irrevocable power sources.

It is so unfortunate that there has been lack of political will among the principals in facilitating the full implementation of the agreements in the signed Global Political Agreement, two years after formation.

Party politics has also predominantly taken centre stage, overshadowing the very core things that the coalition government was meant to achieve in providing a transition platform to facilitate the holding of a free, fair and credible election in which the electorate can choose their leaders without coercion. The constitution process is heavily compromised and one does not need to wait until the end to know that it will produce a sham. The process is touted with allegations of intimidation, coercion, denial of freedom of speech, expression and assembly.

Frankly speaking the means justifies the end and there should serious worry on the resources that are going down a bottomless pit to fund a hijacked political suicide. ROHR Zimbabwe acknowledges that the observance and sustenance of peace is a deliberate lifetime individual, group and societal responsibility not an occasional or window dressing event. We note with ever-growing concern that in the absence of reforms to secure the observance of human rights, balance of power and upholding of the rule of law, the issue of peace will always be hanging in doubt.

We are also worried by the delicacy surrounding the security of all persons before the law regardless of political affiliation. The lack of consistence by the security forces and arms of state in guaranteeing state security undermines the existence of peace.

In and outside government and state arms, the process of peace begins with the individual, to the family and rest with the nation as a collective. We therefore challenge the coalition government to assume responsibility and fulfill all the provisions of the GPA as the minimum conditions to establishing peace structures and mechanism to ensure that peace building is a lifetime inevitable responsibility.

For Peace, Justice and Freedom

Post published in: Politics

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