There was a recognition of the need for National Healing in the Global Political Agreement. The parties agreed, among other things, that they would ensure equal treatment of all regardless of gender, race, ethnicity and place of origin and that they would give consideration to the setting up of a mechanism to properly advise on what measures might be necessary and practicable to achieve national healing.
They also agreed to create an environment of tolerance and respect among Zimbabweans and formulate policies to attract the return and repatriation of all Zimbabweans in the Diaspora.
Healing literally means to make whole. The Old English word from which it comes is in essence the same as the Bantu word “ubuntu”. The word healing assumes that there has been the infliction of some sort of hurt, either a sudden, traumatic event, or a long drawn out injury.
In the context of talking about national healing in Zimbabwe, the focus is on political and social causes of injury and pain, whether inflicted on individuals or communities.
The focus must be on state-sponsored and political party activities – for the simple reason that these are the single biggest cause of injury and pain.
Healing the nation requires firstly identifying injury and pain, then stopping what is causing it and repairing the damage. The steps for healing should be taken sequentially. Only when the nation has identified, admitted and stopped the immediate and ongoing injury and pain and has taken steps to ensure it will not recur, can society concentrate on repairing.
To even start the process of nation-wide healing it first requires our political-party leadership, government institutions and policy makers and the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration [the “Organ”] set up by government to face facts and publicly acknowledge that sectors of our nation have been subjected to state-sponsored and political violence.
Acknowledgement is not only morally right, it is important for political leaders, not only in terms of their potential legal liability, but also in terms of their reputations in political, community and personal terms.
As regards potential criminal liability, many examples throughout the world show that if people in positions of authority take no action in the face of clear evidence of state-sponsored mass violence or, worse still, find ways actively to hide such evidence, they risk being complicit in criminal behaviour.
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Have you experienced something that needs healing on a national level? How can this be done?
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