With the 2018 general election slowly drawing near , residents in Chitungwiza say they are still traumatised by the experiences of the 2008 violent polls.
By Philemon Jambaya
During the June 27 presidential run-off (2008), opposition party (MDC) claimed that several houses belonging to its officials and activists were petrol bombed as violence erupted in urban as well as rural areas.
Reports also indicated that four MDC youths died from the violence that the marred the 2008 presidential runoff.
It is against this background that Chitungwiza residents have called on the government to facilitate the reconciliation process in the dormitory town following the violence which rocked the area ahead of the 2008 Presidential runoff election.
Calls for a reconciliation process surfaced at a meeting organized by Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) and Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST).
Residents vowed that if government fails to facilitate a reconciliation process before the next election there will be a recurrence of the 2008 violence .
“We urge the government to make sure that this community reconcile, we still remember what happened in 2008, our wounds are still fresh and it pains us to see those who perpetrated this violence walking scot free, they should be accountable for their ruthless actions” said Thabani Mtetwa a resident of Chitungwiza.
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Programs Coordinator Njeru Shastry said that the issue of accountability is pertinent in the process of reconciliation.
“The perpetrators of violence should come forward and admit that they caused violence, it is important for them to be accountable of their deeds” said Shastry.
Shastry also said the Government should consider the views of residents in the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) bill as they were affected directly or in directly” Shastry said.
Chitungwiza is one of the areas which saw ZANU PF setting bases ahead of the 2008 runoff elections, the much remembered base was in ward 2 at the residence of the then executive mayor Daniel Nota where people were taken and butchered.
“ I remember prior to the runoff in 2008 there was a base which was set at Nota’s residence where we saw residence being abused by youths belonging to ZANU PF ,reconciliation is needed in this area before we go for elections, our wounds are still fresh.” Said Patrick Makava
Another Human Rights defender at the meeting Pride Mkono said reconciliation is needed to heal communities.
“Communities need to be healed, government should facilitate the process of reconciliation as enshrined in the constitution. Government should also take into account the views of ordinary people in the NPRC bill, the government shouldn’t ambush people like what they did at COPAC, I am afraid that the bill might sail through because ZANU PF controls the parliament but I insist people should be consulted” fumed Mkono.
Heal Zimbabwe is moving across the country taking into account the views of people, the views which Heal Zimbabwe says need to formulate and be incorporated in the NPRC bill.