Gukurahundi rears its ugly head again as Parliament discusses Mphoko’s Peace and Reconciliation bill- Part Three


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HON. KHUPE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would also like to add my voice to this very important motion.  I would like to begin by saying that, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission’s specific mandate is to deal with the past by making sure that they facilitate truth telling.

For me, in order for this peace building process to be a success, it is important that truth telling be done in an open and transparent manner.  We want to make sure that what happened is not going to happen again.  For instance, if you look at issues to do with Gukurahundi and other issues, it is like what Government did was to take an elastoplast and put it on a wound without applying betadine.  So, what has been happening in the 35 years is that, that wound has been eating into the flesh.  It is now deeper and the pain is severe.  So, it is important that we remove that elastoplast, apply betadine so that the wounds heal and heal for good. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

That can only happen, Mr. Speaker Sir if the truth is told.  Let the truth be told because the truth shall set you free.  Once truth has been told, we want justice.  Let justice take its course.   Once justice takes its course, then there will be peace.  Once there is peace, then you can reconcile the nation.  Once there is reconciliation, then there will be development because a country cannot develop on a foundation of injustices.  You have to deal with the injustices in order for development to take place.  So, our plea to the Hon. Vice President is that let this process be done in such a manner that we are going to heal the wounds and heal them for good.

The Bill does not state how that truth telling is going to happen.  It also does not state how justice is going to happen.  So, it is important that this Bill at least clearly states how that truth telling is going to happen and how justice is going to happen.

On Section 9, where the Minister can issue a certificate prohibiting disclosure of evidence which is deemed to be of a security nature.  If you look at all these issues that ever happened, all these issues are very sensitive.  There is not even a single one which is not sensitive.  So, if the Minister is allowed to be issuing certificates, it means he is going to be issuing certificates every step of the way.  We are saying let this process be done in an open and transparent manner.  Why are we not doing it like what the Rwandese did; they were sitting underneath trees while people were giving evidence.  This is what we want; we are saying let us deal with this matter once and for all so that we move the country forward.

So, the issue of the certificate, I do not support it because the Commission would not be independent.  It would be like the Minister would be interfering with the job of the Commission.  Even if the new Bill provides that an affected member can appeal to the Commission, if they are not satisfied about that certificate, for me even if they were to appeal, I do not see anything new happening.

The other issue has to do with the issue of archiving the information.  How is the information going to be archived because the Bill does not state clearly?  On the issue of access to information, will the public have access to information wherever they want to use it?  The other very important issue is to do with safety and protection of witnesses before, during and after they give evidence.  If there is no security and protection, it means witnesses are going to be followed before they go and give that evidence, they will be threatened or after they give evidence they be followed and threatened.  So, we need a guarantee that witnesses are going to be protected during this process.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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