“NO To a Politically Led National Healing Process”, Youths.

"Lets Heal the Nation"

"Lets Heal the Nation"

Young people in Bulawayo have called for a new constitution and an apolitical body to lead the National healing process in the country saying the current government led initiative is inconsistent and is most likely to worsen the situation than improve it.

Speaking at separate meetings held by the Bulawayo Youth Council (B.Y.C) in Nkulumane, Bulawayo Central, and Emakhandeni/Entumbane constituencies over the last two weeks under the topic National Healing or a Political Gimmick: Will the Current Process Achieve True Peace, young people expressed suspicion at the current process saying the environment is not yet conducive for people to truly heal.

“We are afraid to talk about what happened to us and our parents because the atmosphere is still tense. The police and the army that brutalized us are still the same We are afraid that if we point out the perpetrators they will come back to retaliate” said one youth in Emakhandeni.

Young people who attend these meetings seem to have more questions than answers on this topic as they feel the media has not done much to make them understand the background to this sudden course of action. During these meetings they asked questions like “Who is government to forgive on my behalf?”, “What guarantee do I have that after this process the perpetrators will not repeat this act again?”, “How do they expect me to forgive if they do not pay for the damaged and looted properties?”,”

The issue of a top down approach led by government was criticized as being paradoxical as parties in government now, have been accusing each other of political violence. Youths also said it was not fair to have the process led by three ministers representing just three political parties because they are not representative of the political landscape in Zimbabwe and politicians are not the only ones that need healing.

“It does not make sense to have people that have accused each other of atrocities, and have not gone through counseling to heal themselves leading a national process on peace and reconciliation. I would prefer and trust the church to better lead this process because even traditional leaders have been politicized” said another young lady in Nkulumane.

A new and people driven constitution was sighted as the starting point for a process that would be fair transparent and would also guarantee that true justice takes its course. Many young people expressed the fear that a national healing process under the current constitution would only lead to a flawed outcome and possible repetition of these acts of violence in future.

“Only a new and people driven constitution can guarantee us safety, truth, justice and reparations in this process. With the law still as it is, nothing will change because it is being violated by government officials willy-nilly” another youth said.

In the latest newsletter from the Prime Minister’s office, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is quoted as having said truth and justice are the keys to national healing.
“National healing cannot occur without justice and justice must be done, as well as be seen to be done. There can be no room or tolerance for retribution as retribution perpetuates the cycle of oppression and suffering” he was quoted as saying

The B.Y.C is due to produce a position paper based on the outcome of these meetings in the coming week.

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