11 September 2018

Zimbabwe: ED Slammed for Scrapping National Healing Ministry

The silence around the National Peace and Reconciliation portfolio in President Emmerson Mnangagwa's new cabinet, speaks a lot on the Zanu PF led government's insincerity in addressing the country's past injustices, analysts have said.

In the past few years, the portfolio has been handed to one of the country's two vice presidents, with former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko taking charge of the ministry before it was passed on to VP Kembo Mohadi when Mphoko left government.

However, in the new lean cabinet announced last week, the ministry appeared to have been dropped.

Since assuming power in November last year, Mnangagwa has preached the "let bygones be bygones" mantra, calling on citizens to forget past abuses and atrocities, mostly perpetrated by the State and its agencies.

Mnangagwa himself stands accused of masterminding some of the atrocities especially the Gukurahundi massacres that claimed 20 000 civilians in Matebeleland and Midlands provinces in the early 1980s as well as election related violence that killed hundreds of opposition supporters.

The country's newly elected leader has denied any direct involvement in the atrocities.

Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa said Zanu PF has never been sincere in solving the country's past injustices.

"There has never been an ounce of sincerity in solving the country's past injustices by both Mugabe and Mnangagwa," Maphosa said.

"From the onset, the two have jumped to reconciliation and healing without really working at addressing the causatives of the wounds they seek to heal.

"The concept as presented by Mnangagwa glosses over important aspects such as first acknowledging the past injustices and rights violations."

Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary general Mbuso Fuzwayo also weighed in saying Mnangagwa has never been keen on bringing closure on some of the part abuses.

"Mnangagwa has never shown any interest in resolving the past injustices especially the Gukurahundi genocide issue," he said.

"There is little we expect from him, the people during the constitution making process, were clear that they wanted an independent commission outside of government to handle the healing and reconciliation process."

Maphosa added that the current state of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) was a sign that government was not ready to deal with the country's ugly past.

Recently President Mnangagwa appointed a seven-member commission chaired by former South Africa president Kgalema Motlanthe to look into the disturbances of August 1 that led to death of six people who were shot dead by members of the Zimbabwe National Army in Harare during alleged poll fraud riots by opposition supporters.

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