The pile-up of violent legacies and delays in establishing architecture for peace and reconciliation in Zimbabwe jointly constitute an impediment to peaceful nation building and development. Diverse and protracted debates continue regarding the need and feasibility of a sustainable peace and reconciliation framework for Zimbabwe in view of the constitutionalisation of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) in 2013 and the enactment of the NPRC Act in January 2018. To explore this discourse, Heal Zimbabwe conducted a nationwide baseline study to inform diverse peace and reconciliation initiatives in Zimbabwe.
A baseline study is a descriptive cross-sectional study undertaken to establish the obtaining status of a particular situation before interventions. Baseline studies are essential for project design, benchmarks establishment, monitoring and evaluation. Therefore, given the inevitability of transitional justice in Zimbabwe, this research was a deliberate process to gather national views on what constitute peace, healing and reconciliation processes in Zimbabwe.
This baseline study provides the context for the appropriate operationalization of peace and reconciliation interventions with a view of creating a better Zimbabwe for the present and future generations. Data were gathered through questionnaires, interviews and focus group discussions in 44 of Zimbabwe’s 59 districts. The study targeted individuals above 18 years across multiple stakeholder groups such as youths, women, civic society, political parties, churches, war veterans, traditional leaders, traditional healers, university students, lecturers and the business community. A total of 500 respondents were reached through questionnaires while 113 key informants were interviewed.
The data collection period lasted from June 2016 to June 2017. The study solicited options for a successful framing, design, implementation, and monitoring mechanisms of the peace and reconciliation interventions which the Commission and other stakeholders can use for national healing, peace and reconciliation (nation building). The liberation struggle, the 1987 Unity Accord, the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation, the 2013 constitutional provisions and the NPRC Act constitute adequate premises and reference for successful peace and reconciliation efforts.
In addition, Independent Commissions Supporting Democracy (ICSDs) arising from Chapter 12 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe adopted in 2013, such as the Human Rights Commission and the Gender Commission are jointly established to address the legacies of our history including episodes of violence and structural shortcomings. Section 252 of the Constitution mandates the NPRC to ensure post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation, truth-telling and community dialogue among other functions. Hence, this baseline study rests on historical, legal and structural peace and reconciliation accounts reflected by Zimbabwean citizens.
Views expressed in this study are mostly reflective of community level opinions. The analysis and categorisation of issues, therefore, is largely dependent on an array of issues raised by research participants from the sampled 44 of 59 Districts. In addition, the study findings are not exhaustive but they provide a basis for further systematic issues in Zimbabwe.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe
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