Catholics in renewed calls for peace, reconciliation

THE Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has renewed calls to urgently start the peace and reconciliation process in the country to ensure healing.

Source: Catholics in renewed calls for peace, reconciliation – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 2, 2016


CCJP said it was disheartening that in setting the parliamentary agenda, President Robert Mugabe listed Bills that should be prioritised, but left out the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill.

“We, therefore, kindly ask the President to command the current parliamentary session to prioritise debate on the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill,” the commission said in a statement.

“We would like to emphasise that a national peace and reconciliation process in Zimbabwe is long overdue. We have a history of conflict that cannot be simply ignored or procrastinated. The prevailing situation is such that some no longer effectively take part in public life and national development process. There is a feeling of lack of faith that there is safety, predictability or meaning in Zimbabwe — or a safe place in which to stay.”

Through a combination of fieldwork and other research methods, the CCJP in 1997 authored a report on the 1983-1987 Matabeleland/Midlands atrocities — largely known as the Gukurahundi massacres.

It is estimated 20 000 people died, while thousands more reportedly disappeared without trace.

Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, who is also the National Healing minister, is on record saying the effects of the atrocities extend to today, with some people struggling to get death certificates for relatives they lost, and others failing to get birth certificates.

In the statement, CCJP said a national healing and reconciliation process was important for the eradication of poverty in the country.

“In particular, it will enable everyone to contribute effectively to the implementation of the country’s development policies,” the commission said.

“What made Zimbabwe the breadbasket of the region in the 1980s, for example, was partly the ‘exploitation’ of human resources and the social capital of communal farmers, who worked so well together to produce a lot of grain for both export and domestic consumption. Farmers supported each other with advice, labour, tillage and draught power.

Similar results could also be obtained from the impending command agriculture if a solid social capital and human resource base is created.”