Activists not fit for peace body, Churches

via Activists not fit for peace body, Churches – NewZimbabwe 11/02/20

CHURCH leaders have said government workers and civil society organisations dealing with human rights abuses should be excluded from the National Peace and Reconciliation processes as their participation would dent the results of the investigations.

The recommendation was made at a policy forum which was organised by the National Transitional Justice Working Group Zimbabwe (NTJWG) in Harare Wednesday evening.

In December, government gazetted the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill and made co- Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko responsible. Mphoko is a member of the executive which the public accuse of human rights violations.

The VP is under fire from the public over his attitude towards some of the atrocities which were perpetrated by the state. On several occasions, he has exonerated both President Robert Mugabe and the state from the Gukurahundi massacres which claimed 20 000 civilians in the early 1980s.

Acting Principal of Arrupe College, Father Professor Lawrence Daka, who was one of the quest speakers on Wednesday night, said for the national healing process to yield results a faith-based approach should be employed.

“A faith-based process can achieve better results,” he suggested. “Indeed there is need for a government oversight to be the guarantors of the whole exercise; however for the effectiveness of the process it is desirable in my opinion that there be non-government implementers.”

Since the peace body was mooted, there has also been a stampede by NGOs who work with victims of political violence with activists biding to be part of the reconciliation process.

But Father Professor Daka said interested parties would compromise the results of the process.

“The process can become more effective when government entrusts the church or church people to carry it out,” he said. “Faith-based initiatives deliver better and positive results than political, aligned or self-interested groups.”

Mphoko failed to attend the meeting because of his Zanu PF party’s heated politiburo meeting which lasted for more than 10 hours.

Members of the opposition MDC-T party, civil society and foreign diplomats attended the policy dialogue forum in which church leaders appeared to want to be in charge of the reconciliation process.

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