Zimbabwe: MPs Say Government Not Serious About Reconciliation, Warn of an Ethnic ‘Uprising’

Photo: The Herald

Zimbabwe parliament (file photo).

“I remember a very young woman in Bulawayo saying this war between amaShona lamaNdebele can only be described as a war yikulwa kuka satan loJehovah (war between satan and Jehovah); it can never finish.

MPs have warned government that it is sitting on a time bomb by failing to addressing the issues underlying peace building efforts being sought through the crafting of the Peace and Reconciliation Bill.

The Bill was read for the second time on Tuesday after it was rejected last year at the same stage when the parliamentary Legal committee shared an adverse report which, among other concerns, spoke against the limited independence of the commission.

Law makers from both the ruling party and opposition echoed the same sentiments that the bill has failed to provide a basis for addressing the simmering tensions emanating from past injustices including the 1980’s Gukurahundi massacres and political violence which started in 2000.

Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga described the contents of the bill as ignorant of the anger existing among the various tribes of Zimbabwe which she said has potential to destabilize the country in future.

“The public hearings showed me an extremely divided nation. Basically people said don’t give us something that is not telling the truth. The unfortunate thing is when people hear about peace and reconciliation the first thing they think about is Gukurahundi,” said Misihairabwi debating in parliament on Tuesday.

She added, “I remember a very young woman in Bulawayo saying this war between amaShona lamaNdebele can only be described as a war yikulwa kuka satan loJehovah (war between satan and Jehovah); it can never finish.

“In Mash West, someone in the group stood up and said stop talking about Gukurahundi after all the ma Ndebele people took our cows and our wives. It’s an upsetting statement but it’s a real one. The reason why Ndebele people continue to suffer marginalisation is because there were some cows and wives taken from Shonas.

“If there is supposed to be reparations let the cattle come back so we can talk about the issues. We cannot continue to pretend. Unfortunately this bill doesn’t address that. It’s a useless bill as far as we are concerned.”

Misiharabwi said section 18 of the constitution attempts to addresses historical inequalities within different regions but these are being ignored by the bill.

“Right now if someone tries to do a memorial service just to talk about what happened they are arrested, they are stopped yet those people watch day in day out here in Mashonaland people saying they are doing reburials,” she said.

She argued that denialism and pretence remain Zimbabwe’s biggest problem to peace building. She said chances of violent uprisings are high if the anger in communities continues unabated.

“Here in Mashonaland, the…

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