By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
02 July 2014
Six years since the 2008 political violence during which many opposition members were killed and maimed experts say there is still deep seated fear at community level and there is a need for urgent action to solve the problem.
Both South African based lawyer Daniel Molokele and Rashid Mahiya of Heal Zimbabwe Trust spoke to SW Radio Africa’s cutting Edge programme and evaluated the country’ s violent past.
Since independence Zimbabwe has gone through phases of violence with the worst being the mid 1980s state-instigated Gukurahundi genonide and the 2008 violence against MDC members. The genocide in the Matabeleland and Midlands areas claimed an estimated 20,000 lives, mainly of ZAPU supporters and Ndebele speaking people. The ZANU PF election violence in 2008 claimed fewer lives, but hundreds of thousands of people were displaced and many tens of thousands were tortured.
Mahiya said the fear at community level runs parallel with bitterness which were both activated during the July 2013 election. He said while there was no open violence during last year’s poll the electorate was openly threatened with violence.
The two agreed that while there were a few attempts to deal with the aftermath of violence during the unity government which followed the 2008 election, the ministry of reconciliation did not do enough. Mahiya said: ‘The ministry was able to perform its duties only as far as it was convenient to the holders of power.’
Moleke said the ministry, which was led by Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, ‘was doomed to fail because it was neither a legal nor social justice concept but a political compromise.’ He said there is a need to institute a state-supported public process of healing for the nation to move forward.
He said the process should result in the people reclaiming the ownership of state institutions such as the security sector departments like the CIO and the army.
But these observations come at a time when the CIO and the army, as well as the police, are seen as owned and controlled by the ruling ZANU PF. They act with impunity, routinely violating people’s rights. While this remains a fact the hope of healing the nation remains a distant hope.