22 November 2017
The Zimbabwe Peace Project welcomes the role many Zimbabweans played in ending the rule of President Robert Gabriel Mugabe through a resignation letter on 21 November 2008 to Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda.
Anchored in our vision for sustainable peace and development we cannot pretend that a new chapter means we have to sweep under the carpet the indiscretions of the past. As we move into a new chapter with new leadership it is important to acknowledge the human rights violations of the past and take immediate steps to rectify the situation.
President Mugabe’s tenure while remembered by some for land reform left a bitter taste in the mouths of many through the violence and violation of human rights he often resorted to in order to achieve his political objectives. His rule was blighted by a disregard for the rule of law notably the disregard of court orders in the violent land invasions as well as persecution of activists through arbitrary arrests and detentions. Many in the communities we work in tell stories of abductions, torture, killings, rape and other heinous crimes committed under the watch of Mugabe for the furtherance of his political interests.
His rule was punctuated by episodes of excessive violence from the Gukurahundi atrocities in the 1980s, a purge of opposition parties since 1999 and a reign of terror against political opponents and activists most recently.
Mugabe in his last days became more desperate and more arrogant even disregarding recommendations given by constitutional bodies such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission which found that food aid was being politicised to victimise Mugabe’s political opponents. He dismissed the findings of the report and described the chairperson of the Commission as a ‘stupid man’. He stood in the way of reforms preferring to preserve a status quo that clearly denied Zimbabweans many freedoms.
His rule was characterised by impunity as his supporters were allowed to cultivate a culture of fear. This fear was palpable even at the highest level as even his own comrades fled the country fearing for their lives.
His mismanagement of the economy resulted in many Zimbabweans failing to realise their socio-economic rights. Children were sent away from school for non-payment of fees while other had their homes demolished in an arbitrary fashion. Thousands others were displaced and moved to other countries.
Drawing the line
The leadership renewal provides the country with an opportunity to start again. We urge particularly the new leadership to capacitate and enable the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to execute its mandate as stipulated in the Constitution. The NPRC offers Zimbabwe the chance to move towards post-conflict healing, reconciliation and justice this will ensure that those who have suffered violence or violation of their rights are given an opportunity to seek redress and justice. The new leadership must take steps to rehabilitate victims of violence as well as offer solid assurance for a peaceful free and fair election in 2018.
The ZPP further urges the incoming leadership to reform pieces of legislation that continue to be abused by law enforcement to prevent citizens from enjoying their political rights. The new leadership must promote tolerance for different political views. We also further urge the new leadership to address economic challenges that have made it difficult for citizens to enjoy the socio-economic rights.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project will continue to be guided by its values to speak truth to power through monitoring of cases of breaches to peace.
If you are concerned about acts of violence in your community, ZPP encourages you to get in touch with us on
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