NGOs and the constitutional commissions : Part Four

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By By Nondumiso Sibanda

HELLO dear readers!
I trust that you are doing well as you continue digesting just how much the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) plan on using the constitutional commissions to their advantage.
I had hoped to make this a four-part series, but then I also realised that there are still a couple of commissions who also need to be extra cautious when dealing with NGOs and their donor agenda.
These are the ones that I am now winding up with.
The most vulnerable of the commissions which might even result in the outbreak of a civil war or major civil unrest is the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.
These are some of the commissions’ functions:
To ensure post conflict justice, healing and reconciliation.
To develop and implement programmes to promote national healing, unity and cohesion in Zimbabwe and the peaceful resolution of disputes.
To bring about national reconciliation by encouraging people to tell the truth about the past and facilitating the making of amends and the provision of justice.
To develop procedures and institutions at a national level to facilitate dialogue among political parties, communities, organisations and other groups in order to prevent conflicts and disputes arising in the future.
To develop programmes to ensure that persons subjected to persecution, torture and other forms of abuse receive rehabilitative treatment and support.
To receive and consider complaints from the public and to take such action in regard to the complaints as it considers appropriate.
To develop mechanisms for early detection of areas of potential conflicts and disputes, and to take appropriate preventative measures.
As I stated above these are just some of their functions.
They have about four other functions, but I just listed the top ones.
I could actually write two more articles just on how vulnerable this commission is.
First and foremost, peace and reconciliation are not easy things to carry out and commission because one is faced by people with different views and mind-sets.
This is something that NGOs know and together with donors, they will try their best to ‘unearth’ so-called disputes and tensions and will even go to the extent of paying off people to lie about what would have happened.
My major concern is the whole ‘Gukurahundi’ saga.
Growing up in Matabeleland, we were often told that the Shonas are the enemies and one just grew up with an unexplained hatred.
However, it is surprising that having stayed here in Harare for over 15 years now, I have never experienced any discrimination on the grounds of me being Ndebele.
Some of my best friends are Shona and most of them have no idea about Gukurahundi.
Sadly, that is not the case back home.
However, year after year, I have seen how donors through NGOs have tried to make that so-called memory of hatred remain fresh in our minds as Ndebele people without it being properly explained that many Shonas also died during that period.
This is going to be the major issues that NGOs and donors are going to try and rubber stamp and make the commission investigate.
They will even give hundreds and thousands of dollars towards the investigation and potential compensation to the Ndebele people.
There is a Shona proverb that I like which says, “Itsitsi dzei tsvimborume kubvisa mwana wemvana dziwa?” which means that what kind of mercy is being given by a widower when he removes mucus from the nose of the child of a single mother?
It is plain for all to see that he is probably just after making a good impression so that he marries her.
The same goes for the NGOs and the donors.
They are busy pretending to be wanting to get ‘justice’ for ‘victims’ yet all they want is to end up having a puppet-led government.
The commission needs to be careful and cautious and to also make sure that they thoroughly investigate so-called cases of torture.
However, we must remember that true peace and reconciliation can only be solved for Zimbabweans by Zimbabweans.
We cannot afford to do what South Africa did.
It had too much foreign intervention and as a result it failed.
Our own peace and reconciliation must start off with the acknowledgment of colonialism for to start anywhere else would be a failure to recognise the root.
Let us continue to hold hands and unite together in peace.

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