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Title:Towards a framework for resolving the justice and reconciliation question in Zimbabwe
Authors:Ndlovu-Gatsheni, SabeloISNI
Benyera, Everisto
Periodical:African Journal on Conflict Resolution (ISSN 1562-6997)
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:conflict resolution
transitional justice
truth and reconciliation commissions
offences against human rights
Abstract:Zimbabwe has never had meaningful and comprehensive programmes to provide justice in the many issues that cascade from conflict and violence in the nation. What has been done, amounts to armistices rather than transitional justice mechanisms. Consequently, Zimbabwe has not seriously dealt with the primary sources of conflict and violence that date back to colonial times. The rhetoric of unity premised on amnesia has been privileged over effective practical healing and reconciliation mechanisms that address the root causes of recurrent human rights violations. Indemnities, amnesties and presidential pardons have been used to protect perpetrators of conflict and violence. This article attempts to explore key issues and challenges around the healing and reconciliation question by exposing the contending perspectives and issues provoked by the adoption of the new constitution in Zimbabwe and the setting up of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC). Theoretically, the article posits that the very logic that informs the construction of 'the political' (as a domain of political values and incubator of political practices), which privileges notions of 'the will to power' and the 'paradigm of war', makes conflict and violence to be accepted as normal. Practically, the article advances ideas of 'survivor's justice' as opposed to the traditional 'criminal justice' that fragments a society emerging from a catalogue of conflicts and violence into simplistic 'perpetrator' and 'victim' binaries. Survivor's justice privileges political reform as a long-lasting solution involving reconstitution of 'the political' itself. Bibliogr., ref., sum. [Journal abstract]