Violence perpetrators not off the hook

A good friend called me to his office last week and asked me why our legislators sat in Parliament to pass “illegal” laws. He was referring to the recent passing of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Bill by the lower House. He was rightly incensed by the MDC formations agreeing to the provision that the Human Rights Commission would not investigate cases of human rights violations that occurred prior to the inauguration of the inclusive government on 13 February 2009.

There have been numerous responses to this seemingly unfortunate convergence of ideas among our legislators by various commentators. My view is slightly different from the views of some of my fellow political commentators. I am of the view that what the legislators from the two MDCs did was not only right, given the dire circumstances of our bleeding country, but this was also necessary if this country is to press on to democratic, free and fair elections next year.

The people of this country must not forget that the major, if not the only, perpetrators of most of the violence and human rights violations that this country has experienced are Zanu (PF) elements. The fact that the legislature comprises both the two MDCs and Zanu (PF) necessarily means that the Zimbabwe Human Rights Bill was not going to be allowed to see the light of day if this provision was to be excluded from the Bill.

Zanu (PF) would never have allowed the Bill to go through and that would have left the Human Rights Commission in limbo for a long time to come. This compromise, although it seems to be a clear Zanu (PF) win, is actually going to turn out to be that party’s big loss in the long run. Some of my readers will now be saying, what has happened to this old man? How can he agree with legislators who have become so intimidated by Zanu (PF) that they actually agreed to “bury” all the sins of Gukurahundi, Operation Murambatsvina and the vicious atrocities of June 2008? But here is the explanation, as I see it.

Zimbabwe is at a very serious crossroads, and we need to get over that in order to begin to right all the wrongs committed in the past without the hindrance of a so-called inclusive government.

It will not take long for the MDC-T government to amend the Human Rights Act whether Zanu (PF) likes it or not. It will equally be possible to change whatever laws that the people of this country will deem to have been crafted maliciously by the outgoing Mugabe regime.

In other words, the bills currently being passed through the august chamber will easily be subject to preferred changes once the new Tsvangirai government is in place. It is therefore absolutely necessary for us to be patient with regard to some of these issues knowing very well that one day soon, we will effectively deal with all these issues in a more pro-people manner. Nothing is to be gained by insisting on a perfect pie right now when we are still supping with the devil. The Gukurahundi massacres, the Murambatsvina human rights violations and the June 2008 atrocities will not be forgotten. They are not closed chapters.

They shall be revisited and dealt with when the time and the circumstances are right. The day of reckoning is certainly coming.

What appears to be a Zanu (PF) victory today is nothing but a clever way of coaxing the dictator to the gallows. You cannot fool all the people all the time and get away with murder.- [email protected]

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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