via Dark past holding Zim hostage, group – New Zimbabwe 10/11/2015
ZIMBABWE is being held “hostage” by a dark past which those in political power do not want to be investigated, a leading human rights campaigner has said.
Heal Zimbabwe Trust director, Rasheed Mahiya, told a press conference in Harare, Tuesday that President Robert Mugabe’s administration is scared that if it sets up the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, the body might “open a can of worms”.
“We are of the opinion that the inordinate delays in constituting the NPRC are deliberate to maintain the status quo,” the activist said.
“Some in power are afraid that they might be found on the wrong side because there are a lot of things that need to be investigated.
“We have said we want the NPRC to investigate and lay to rest issues that happened even before independence.
“There are things that have happened even before 2008 that need to be looked into.”
Mahiya said Zimbabweans are “living in fear and constantly in election mode”.
“Zimbabweans associate elections with violence and have been perpetually in election mode ever since the turn of the century.
“We have negative peace in the communities in which we work in. People live in fear because they are constantly reminded that they will be deal with when election season roll in again.
“The past is holding us hostage; it is holding the country and the NPRC will help debunk this myth.
“There is a lot of suspicion around key state institutions that are supposed to keep peace and protect people.”
Zimbabwe is still to heal the wounds of its continuing cycles of violence.
These include atrocities committed by the Rhodesian regime then led by Ian Smith prior to independence 35 years ago.
There was also Mugabe’s Gukurahundi campaign in which tens of thousands were killed under the guise of hunting down a handful of dissidents to the 2008 election violence that left over 300 dead and scores missing.
Mugabe has described the Gukurahundi atrocities mainly concentrated in western Zimbabwe as a “moment of madness”.
Human rights campaigners pushed for a constitutional provision which provides for the setting up of a NPRC but three years down the line it is yet to be established.
The commission is supposed to have a life-span of 10 from the day the president is inaugurated.
Mugabe received a fresh mandate in disputed elections following the adoption of a new constitution in July 2013.