Latest News and Update from Heal Zimbabwe
Heal Zimbabwe condemns the violence that erupted in Chitungwiza over the weekend where ZANU PF youths working in cahoots with members of the police assaulted MDC-T youths who had refused to oblige to their demands of paying $20 for illegal stands allocation.
On the day in question, the ZANU PF youths who had skirmishes with the MDC-T youths over the $20 issue, ran to a local police station and brought 7 policemen who helped them assault the MDC-T youths. A MDC youth sustained a broken leg in the process.
After that, the ZANU PF youths assisted the police in identifying houses belonging to MDC activists where the police proceeded and harassed the MDC-T Councillor, Mr Majoni and assaulted another MDC-T youth, Biggie Chitengu who has since been admitted at a local hospital in Harare. They also proceeded to St Marys where they continued assaulting targeted MDC-T youths. After the gruesome act, ironically the police arrested the victims of the assault. The arrested MDC-youths were only identified as Chabuka, Kuda and Katoma who have since been granted $50 bail by a Chitungwiza Magistrate.
Heal Zimbabwe expresses concern on the selective application of justice by the police who are supposed to protect the nation and safeguard people’s rights against violence and abuse. Such a behaviour and approach to justice reduces people’s confidence in the police and other law enforcement agencies. The organisation urges the Government to launch a thorough investigation into the case and apprehend the perpetrators of the violence.
Meanwhile…………. In Rusape
Heal Zimbabwe condemns the intra party violence that erupted on Saturday, 21 March 2015 in Makoni Central in Rusape during MDC-T District elections at Nyabadza growth point.
The violence occurred after former MP for Buhera Central, Tangwara Matimba tried to preside over the district elections. However, people in the area did not recognise him and this resulted in violence. Several people have been arrested in the area in connection with the incident.
Heal Zimbabwe expresses concern over the resurgence of politically-motivated violence. Such indications signal potential threats of violence ahead of the anticipated by-elections and future national elections. The Organisation calls on all political parties to shun violence during their internal processes and the upcoming by-elections
Heal Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Women’s Day held on the 8th of March each year. This is a day to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women. The 2015 theme “…Make It Happen…” is a clear indication that women’s rights are a necessity and must therefore become a priority for all. HZT through its programming, envisions Zimbabwean communities where women and girls can freely exercise their rights. These include participating in politics, access to education, having an income, and living in a society free from violence, intimidation and discrimination.
HZT has over the years, worked with women of all ages in Zimbabwe who have been affected by politically motivated violence in an effort to build sustainable peace. In line with the theme; “…Make it happen…”, HZT has been making it happen for grassroots women in Zimbabwe by assisting them in reclaiming their fundamental role of peace building in their communities.
Through its various capacity building projects, HZT has been targeting women at the lowest level of communities, and empowering them through capacity building, income generating projects and amplifying their voice in the broader democratic process. These women, most of whom are survivors of political violence and torture, have been successfully reintegrated into the society and have started the road to economic, physical and psycho-social healing.
Heal Zimbabwe therefore calls for the Government to swiftly facilitate the functioning of the Gender Commission as a way of ensuring that women’s rights take centre stage and are not sidelined in any way.
Some of the safe neutral spaces for women HZT has facilitated.
VOA Interview with Heal Zimbabwe Programme Manager,Sithabile Dewa on VP’s Mphoko Gukurahundi remarks
The workshop had several objectives which included to equip participants with skills that will enable them to run processes with community volunteers aimed at developing individual and collective community peace, to engage participants in a transformative process that strengthens their ability to develop practical strategies that are effective and actively preventing and responding effectively to all forms of violence and to develop a clear communications protocol to enable organisations staff and members to report and respond to acts of violence.
The workshop had participants who included Peace Club Chairpersons, Pastors, Chiefs, Village heads and police drawn from different provinces. The workshop had a fair representation of traditional leaders who included 4 chiefs and 3 village heads. It was noted that most conflict that emanate from communities are usually presided over by chiefs and village heads, hence the need to educate on the roles of stakeholders in conflict resolution.
The traditional leaders highlighted the need to know cases which fall within the jurisdiction of chiefs and police. For example during minor conflicts in communities, it is wise to approach a village head. In the event of a village head not able to bring a peaceful resolution, then the village head would take it up to the chief.
The workshop also highlighted the need to always find peaceful resolution to conflict by engaging peace clubs which are inclusive in their composition in that they are made up of traditional leaders, police, opinion leaders and councillors.
The workshops were part of Heal Zimbabwe Trust’s training of its Peace clubs on community peace building.
Heal Zimbabwe Trust’s message, “Peace begins with you, Peace begins with you, Peace begins with all of us, didn’t have any relevance in Gutu West ward 6 before a determined group of people comprising of women and youths took it personal to turn around their community.
According to a research done by Heal Zimbabwe Trust in 2012 on election violence during election time, it was noted that cases of political violence have been on the increase between May and August 2012 in Masvingo province (Gutu included) with an increase in the number of young people engaged in violence. The statistics reveal an increase of 13% to reach 55% of young people engaged in violence from a recorded 42% from the first quarter of the year 2012.
Chief Jijika, who presides over the area, had a hard time trying to contain violence that ravaged his community as case after case was dropped at his council. Many cases of violence were reported to the police and some of these cases have not yet received ruling before the courts. Such was the case of Gutu as narrated by one Mrs Muchaneta, now Chairperson of Kushinga Garden of Peace in Gutu.
The garden has brought together women partnering youths to farm vegitables,maize and other crops that they sell to nearby boarding schools such as Serima High School and Rufaro High School and Mpandawana growth point.
The garden has brought unity of purpose and peaceful co-existence for 3 villages who have built socio-economic relationship which have seen them having fundraising activities such as selling traditional beer to complement their income from the garden.The garden has acted as a source of employment to youth who now have a trade of farming .
The garden was established by Heal Zimbabwe Trust and it is meant to empower people in the community and promote peaceful co-existence in communities, strengthen women’s capacities and participation in the identification and implementation of local strategies for the prevention of politically motivated violence. These gardens have provided women with safe spaces where they can have dialogues on the prevention of violence, mitigation of its effects and actions for the post-violence phase; and facilitate their engaging with local leadership structures (traditional, religious, political, administrative, and civic) and men as vehicles for the prevention and mitigation of violence and agents for justice and reconciliation
Heal Zimbabwe is greatly concerned with the recent insensitive public remarks made by Vice President Mphoko on Gukurahundi. The organisation believe that the victims and survivors of Gukurahundi deserve a remorseful apology than insults from the Vice President.
Truth telling is one of the key pillars of Transitional Justice, but the Vice President who is also the Minister responsible for National Healing and Reconciliation has decided to ignore the truth and manipulate facts towards his unpardonable selfish interests. As the voice of survivors and victims of violence, Heal Zimbabwe implores political leaders and the Government to encourage truth telling –objective truth, narrative truth and forensic truth.
In the hearts and souls of the victims and survivors of violence, the VP’s insensitive remarks affirm his unfitting importance to lead the National Healing and Reconciliation portfolio. In fact, the challenge that stands in the way for true National Healing and Reconciliation is that the institutions and systems that perpetrated violence, torture and gross human rights violence have become the attempted spokespersons of the survivors.
Instead of making a public apology for and on behalf of the current Government and the then ruling party, the state has decided to call the genocide a “conspiracy”. The Gukurahundi massacre is a test case –by refusing to acknowledge and offer a public apology, the Government in a way is forcing people to forget the atrocities without healing their wounds. However, only healed living memories of individuals and the public are vital in facilitating transitional justice.
VP Mphoko, justifying the death of over 20 000 people under the guise of conspiracy –that never was –is intolerable, particularly in a country that purports to be democratic. To worsen matters, the shocking remarks come at a time when the 2008 survivors of political violence and torture are eagerly waiting for justice from the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).
In the strict sense, Heal Zimbabwe strongly opposes any attempts to force the masses to forget the past without thorough truth telling, justice, healing and reconciliation. The organisation implores Public Office bearers and Government leaders to desist from manipulating the truth at the expense of the masses. The trauma that the Gukurahundi victims suffered, directly or otherwise, continues to haunt their lives. Therefore, the NPRC must be expeditiously established and the Government must be committed to full transitional justice without distortions to history.