Source: MDC-T leader speaks on violence, reconciliation – The Standard May 1, 2016
Morgan Tsvangirai says he has forgiven people who beat him up in politically-motivated violence that has rocked the country since the inception of his MDC-T party in 1999 but has called on all those who engaged in the violence to own up.
The MDC-T leader (MT) spoke on the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) in an interview with The Standard’s Blessed Mhlanga (BM).
BM: Public hearings have been conducted throughout the country by members of Parliament on the NPRC Bill. During the hearings the issue of reconciliation was very emotive among participants. Would you like to add your voice as a citizen of Zimbabwe?
MT: We need reconciliation over the past abuses but you can’t have reconciliation unless you have a process of truth telling and justice. In other words, transitional justice is important. The reason why people are angry is because they see this [NPRC] as a face-saving formula to protect perpetrators of Gukurahundi, of post electoral violence and all that has taken place, yet it is supposed to be a genuine attempt at allowing people to reconcile with the past.
I want to tell you that unless it is a genuine exercise, that Bill is not going to resolve the issue. what we want is a genuine attempt to go back and make sure that people are reconciled over past misdeeds. Past misdeeds, state-sponsored or otherwise; that is something that must be accepted as a fact and to me, when people are angry they are really expressing their deep-seated emotions about loved ones who have disappeared; about violence they endured; about state-sponsored violence and all that.
BM: You as a victim, are you angry?
MT: No, I am not. I am just disappointed that we are independent but we are not free, and hence the abuses that have taken place. I have endured what Zimbabweans throughout the country endured ahead of the 2002 elections, during the 2008 runoff and Gukurahundi; even the dark periods before that. I am one of the victims and I hope that justice will obtain at some stage because I think that without justice, there will be no reconciliation.
BM: You have been consistent in calling for respect of the constitution and constitutional rights and you were part of the Itai Dzamara march, tell us what the MDC government will do to ensure that these rights are protected?
MT: Well, we are committed to human rights, we are committed to democracy, we have fought for a new constitutional dispensation and that’s the biggest achievement. People don’t realise that the new constitutional dispensation is a significant step towards ensuring that the people’s rights are observed.
We want separation of powers and we should never have anyone disappear without trace. Should that happen, the state itself should be accountable. The state should never be a threat to people’s liberties; the state should be there to protect people. I can assure you that Zimbabwe will be more free under an MDC government, than we have experienced in the past.