Heal Zimbabwe expresses great concern over the recent admission by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene that indeed there was fatal shooting of diamond panners by State security agents assigned to guard the Chiadzwa in 2008.
Minister Chimene made the comments during a dialogue meeting on Marange Community Benefit Schemes organized by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) in Mutare last week. In her presentation Minister Chimene urged the government to end the use of brute force on diamond informal diamond miners. “It is not good for us as government to always fire guns at them, we need the right approach to deal with illegal panners, there is need to have dialogue with them “she said.
The need for closure on the atrocities committed in Chiadzwa during the scramble for diamonds in 2008 when government launched a brutal clampdown on illegal panners that was codenamed Operation Hakudzokwi (No Return) can never be overemphasized. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, more than 200 people were killed in Chiadzwa in 2008.
Heal Zimbabwe urges the 8th Parliament to fulfill Section 252 of the Constitution by operationalizing the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission through passing of the NPRC Bill. This will allow the Commission to
- Develop programs to ensure that persons subjected to persecution, torture and other forms of abuse receive rehabilitative treatment and support
- Receive and consider complaints from the publics and to take such action in regard to the complaints as it considers appropriate.
- Recommend legislation to ensure that assistance, including documentation, is rendered to persons affected by conflicts.
The NPRC also has the mandate to prevent recurrence of violence by developing mechanisms for early detection of areas of conflict and disputes and to take appropriate measures to provide preventive measures.