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In The Absence of National Healing, Zimbabwe Remains Prone to Violence

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

National healing remains a mirage in Zimbabwe and simmering wounds from the 2008 presidential run-off will easily open-up and lead to more political violence in the next election cycle, Reconciliation Minister Moses Mzila Ndlovu has warned.

Mzila says lack of common ground in the uneasy unity government on the handling of the sensitive subject, makes it difficult for his ministry to forge a unified approach.

The National Healing and Reconciliation ministry was founded three years ago at the inception of the inclusive government to start a healing process for a nation torn apart by the 2008 violence blamed primarily on President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF.

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was also responsible, though to a lesser extent, often to defend itself against marauding Zanu PF activists.

Mzila's warning came ahead of a National Day of Prayer by church groups May 25 to call for political tolerance, peace and national prosperity among other things.

"There has been very little, if anything we've accomplished as the organ of national healing," Mzila told VOA. "We must therefore, gear ourselves for hell breaking loose if elections are called without reconciling political opponents."

The minister, a member of the MDC wing led by Welshman Ncube sharing responsibility with two other co-ministers from the Tsvangirai MDC and Zanu PF, has himself been arrested while conducting national healing meetings.

He was charged with undermining the office of the president, and his fate will be decided on Tuesday by a Hwange magistrate following a two-week trial.

The healing ministry has proposed a code of conduct for political parties and a peace commission to deal with violence.

Civil society groups and observers agree with Mzila, adding reconciliation should also address the killing of civilians in Midlands and Matabeleland regions by Mr. Mugabe’s fifth brigade in the 1980s. Zanu PF is, however, opposed to the idea.

Independent political analyst George Mkhwanazi commented that given the dysfunctional nature of the unity government, national healing will not be easy to achieve.