Course : Peace, Leadership And Transformation
Q. ‘Ethnocentrism best explains the occurance of genocides’ using conflict examples explain how ethnocentrism drives genocidal conflicts.
Restorative justice is commonly defined as an approach to justice that focuses on addressing the harm caused by crime?? while holding the offender responsible for their actions??, by providing an opportunity for the parties directly affected by the crime??- victims, offenders and communities – to identify and address?? their needs in the aftermath of a crime.
Restorative justice is based on an understanding that crime is a violation of people?? and relationships??. The principles of restorative justice are based on respect, compassion and inclusivity???. Restorative justice encourages meaningful engagement and accountability and provides an opportunity for healing, reparation and reintegration ???. Restorative justice processes take various forms and may take place at all stages of the criminal justice system hence in Zimbabwean Gukurahundi context the efforts have been cosmetic?? and half-hearted?? as seen by the failure to engage the traditional leaders in the areas affected by the Gukurahundi massacres??.
South Africa, after the end of Apartheid, set the pace for reconciliation with its Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
After listening to the evidence of the aggrieved, it was able to offer amnesty to those who admitted their fault and repented in public. Two years ago, before he was overthrown, Mugabe set up the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission but its progress has been slow and it lacks the independence and the wide remit of its South African counterpart.
Bulawayo-based civil society organizations comprising the Matabeleland Collective want the remit of the Commission to be widened and have demanded the release?? of two government reports on Gukurahundi which have been kept secret??. Even the chair of the Commission Mr Justice Nare says he has been unable to get hold of the reports hence i submit that the steps taken by his excellency the President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa do not adhere to restorative justice to a greater extent as they lack the neccessary foundation that of being inclusive with the aggrieved and also juxtaposing it with the steps taken by our South African counterparts after the end of apartheid.This essay will clearly ellaborate more as it unfolds??.
President Mnangagwa says debate on the Gukurahundi issue should have started a long time ago and resolution of some of the issues finalised back then.The Head of State challenged the nation to open up discussions on the subject, which was taboo in the previous era?? which is positive move by the President in as far as not criminalising Gukurahundi discussion??., However it has been seen by many as grandstanding and reviving the pain of the viictims who feel like the issue is not being given the neccesary attention it deserves but has now been used as a political currency by the President who is trying by all means to align it with his ‘Zimbabwe is open for bussiness ” mantra by potraying himself as a reformist and being sincere on the issue.Juxtaposing with the steps taken by Rwanda after the Genocide ,the Rwandans established Gacaca courts where local judges elected by the community presided over court proceedings??. The aim of the Gacaca courts was “to enable truth-telling?,” “to promote reconciliation?,” “to eradicate the culture of impunity?,” “to speed up the trial of genocide suspects?,” and “to demonstrate Rwanda’s own problem-solving capacity?.”
President Mnangagwa says debate on the Gukurahundi issue should have started a long time ago and resolution of some of the issues finalised back then .The Head of State challenged the nation to open up discussions on the subject, which was taboo in the previous era which is positive move by the President in as far as not criminalising Gukurahundi discussion.,
However it has been seen by many as grandstanding and reviving the pain of the viictims who feel like the issue is not being given the neccesary attention it deserves but has now been used as a political currency by the President who is trying by all means to align it with his ‘Zimbabwe is open for bussiness” mantra by potraying himself as a reformist and being sincere on the issue. Juxtaposing with the steps taken by Rwanda after the Genocide, the Rwandans established Gacaca courts where local judges elected by the community presided over court proceedings. The aim of the Gacaca courts was “to enable truth-telling,” “to promote reconciliation,” “to eradicate the culture of impunity,” “to speed up the trial of genocide suspects,” and “to demonstrate Rwanda’s own problem-solving capacity.” In the Zimbabwean context there is no truth telling which undermines the foundations and principles of restorative justice making one to be obliged to ascert that his excellency is not doing much in terms of adhering to the restorative justice as far as the Gukurahundi issue is concerned. In the Zimbabwean context there is no truth telling which undermines the foundations and principles of restorative justice making one to be obliged?? to ascert that his excellency is not?? doing much in terms of adhering to the restorative justice as far as the Gukurahundi issue is concerned??.
According to the article the government has to facilitate the insurance of birth certificates and death certificates as well as the exhumation and reburial of those who died, Coltart sees this as a huge step forward as far as this matter is concerned as the victims longenged to give their dead proper burials, however the government is avoiding the key and crucial part of the whole process which is inclusiveness the government is taking measures that it would have viewed to be appropriate whilst the victims have a set of requirements the demand if this matter is to be resolves with them these are acknowledgement??from those who were involved in the atrocities, secondly an apology??and thirdly communal reparations??and also communal reparations because it was their feeling that their areas were disadvantaged during that period compared to other areas in the country??.
Coltart also states “The other issue that should be done to bring about reconciliation is that the exhumations should be carried out by qualified people??. There should be DNA tests so that those who died are linked to their surviving relatives??, after which they should be proper burials and that might go a long way in bringing closure??” Although the government has embarked on a quest for reconciliation willingness is not seen as their bread is half baked they are not whole heartedly acting up for their harm, it’s more like they are cornered to comply or otherwise, as they are not standing wholly accountable, which is key in the reconciliation process , I would say the government is retributively approaching this issue as they are not considering the healing demanded by terrified victims and paralysed communities.
From the look of things the government would gladly buy their way to reconciliation given a chance they can pay off for the damage they have caused ??, although they have not yet made clear announcements on the communal reparations if the whole case would involve monetary figures?, less dialogue and meeting?, and most especially admitting to have inflicted the harm? and greatly coasted many lives and communities?, I would not call it pride but the government finds it uncomfortable to openly admit and apologize of their doings the want their compensations to speak for then while they hide behind uniting to take the country .
I think the government has to cease hiding behind their money??, power?? and swallow their pride and be ready to comply with whatever conditions the victims?? and his/her community ??think s will best heal the wounds in their hearts, erase the horrific memories and understand that one is sorry for the wrong doing, ready to accept any form of reparations required for reconciliation??, so as to move on with no pretence or grudges in to the future??.
Conclusively one might assert thatwhile the steps taken by his excellency have been positive?? in opening up the Gukurahundi issue which over the years has been seen as a taboo and demonised??.However as alluded by David Coltart ,the measures to bring about restorative justice have been undermined as the whole process lacks sincerity??,truth telling ??and has been used as political currency?? by his excellency to substantiate his stature of being viewed as reformist by the international community which he seeks to please.Also the initiative lacks inclusivity?? as the terms of reference of the National Peace and ReconcilliationCommision tasked in spearheading the issue are skewed?? and lack the very basics of the principles of finding lasting closure to the aggrieved??.Moreso,one is then led to be of the view that his excellency has adhered to lesser extent in adhering to the restorative justice principles on the Gukurahundi issue as seen by the half-hearted?? and cosmetics step?? taken by his excellency and also the failure to be inclusive?? and involving the aggrieved??.