THE National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) has said President Robert Mugabe, government ministers, the police and service chiefs are the biggest obstacles to peace and tolerance in the country through their threats to people exercising their democratic rights to protest.
Source: ‘Mugabe, securocrats biggest obstacle to peace’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 20, 2016
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
NTJWG chairperson, Alec Muchadehama yesterday said the threats presented the single biggest stumbling block to peace and tolerance, before calling on Mugabe to uphold his constitutional mandate, which, among other things, states that he “must preach and promote peace”.
“In an age when citizens are trying to find their voice and become part of a process of building a new culture of justice and accountability, the demon of intolerance has visited them with considerable threats to the livelihoods and well-being of the vast majority of citizens who genuinely yearn to become part of building a new society of peace and harmony,” Muchadehama told journalists yesterday at a Press conference.
“Rather than vilifying protesters and critics of the government and its policies, we would expect the Executive to be taking the lead in finding an inclusive national solution to the inhumane situation in which most Zimbabweans find themselves.”
The NTJWG chairperson said threats of violence against protesters invoked memories of past gross human rights violations like the Gukurahundi mass killings, adding this did not bode well for peace and reconciliation efforts.
“Zimbabweans have already faced too many human rights violations over the past four decades, and the rights of the victims to dignity must be protected. Their wounds must be healed and not be poked at. It is the duty of the Executive and government to foster peace and not suggest the contrary,” he said.
Civic society groups, clergy and opposition parties, among others, have been holding protests calling on Mugabe to step down, but most of them have been brutally crushed by the police.
Mugabe has said those not happy with Zimbabwe must leave the country, while top government, police and army chiefs have also threatened a crackdown against protest leaders, including enacting a law to snoop into people’ communications.